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In this webinar recap, we explore the considerations and strategies essential for secure and compliant cloud management throughout the lifecycle of your data and the full relationship with your provider.
In the last webinar of our 2023 Education Series, Where, exactly, is your cloud?, we were joined by Julia Bonder-Le Berre, Head of Global Privacy, and Steve Lester, Senior Corporate Counsel for Iron Mountain, to shed light on how information in the cloud can be managed with as little risk as possible and in a compliant and accessible manner.
The use of cloud services has experienced a notable surge, particularly since 2020. The transition to a more remote workforce prompted a swift acceleration in cloud adoption, with its benefits ranging from increased capacity and functionality to scalability, enhanced productivity, reduced maintenance, and potential cost savings.
At its core, the cloud consists of servers distributed across data centers worldwide. Because the cloud relies on physical infrastructure that could be located anywhere, data residency requirements can significantly impact decisions about where to host data. As a result, the use of cloud services necessitates careful alignment with information and data governance programs, complemented by robust security and privacy policies. This prompts questions about data privacy, security breaches, and related issues for information and data governance professionals. It demands meticulous consideration to safeguard personal and proprietary data, whether within or outside organizational boundaries.
Research conducted by Economist Impact, sponsored by Iron Mountain, surveyed over 600 executives globally, revealing a heightened awareness of risk, with 95% stating they are more attuned to risk considerations than ever before. Outsourcing data to reputable cloud providers comes with inherent risks, but choosing the right provider should ultimately reduce these risks.
The responsibility of organizations to ensure their chosen suppliers align with privacy, data governance, and security principles becomes a crucial starting point. The process involves careful assessment of a vendor’s policies, followed by the creation of comprehensive data processing agreements that outline roles and responsibilities.
Organizations must have clear policies for cloud usage, emphasizing the need for acceptable use guidelines. Decision-making around acceptable cloud use is a cross-functional effort. Involving stakeholders from security, privacy, legal, procurement, IT, and operational governance ensures a comprehensive evaluation of risks and controls, and informed decisions on moving enterprise data to the cloud.
When selecting a cloud services provider ensure there’s a shared commitment to respecting and protecting personal data throughout its lifecycle. The “three Cs” approach—Commitment, Controls, and Contract—is a framework for forming a trusting relationship with your cloud vendor:
To minimize risks before a vendor relationship ends, it’s important to have a clear exit strategy built into the initial contract. This strategy should encompass the retrieval of data and the termination of services while mitigating potential disruptions. Information and data governance professionals should exercise their expertise at the end of the service, ensuring that the controls and processes remain as rigorous as they were at the beginning of the relationship.
While some scenarios may unfold amicably with the natural termination of a contract or service, others may present challenges, such as a service provider acquisition or, worst-case, disputes leading to data hostage situations. In this case, it’s important to involve legal teams promptly, even before a lawsuit arises, to navigate potential pitfalls and safeguard data integrity.
As cloud relationships evolve, information management, data governance, and risk mitigation must remain at the forefront of your organizational strategies, ensuring a resilient and secure future.
Interested in learning more about this topic? Visit our Iron Mountain Education Series to watch the full webinar, and register for upcoming webinars.