Four Compliance Steps When Moving to the Cloud
In part 1 of my blog, I provided non-technical readers with a better understanding of what the Cloud entails.
We will now look at compliance and the steps that can be taken to address these concerns from a legal perspective.
Compliance is a daunting task even for the most seasoned professional. Irrespective of the industry, there are ever evolving rules and standards that need to be navigated.
Understanding compliance is akin to packing an umbrella when the clouds look stormy. This blog will aim to enable you to enforce compliance and help you to be prepared for any downpour that may occur.
Here are four compliance related steps to consider when thinking about a move to the Cloud:
1) Partnerships, Partnerships, Partnerships!
First things first: It is important to understand that partnerships are key. Partnering with a well-established cloud service provider will make compliance infinitely easier.
Since proficient cloud service providers have taken the time to establish the appropriate technical as well as legal frameworks, they are already used to addressing compliance standards and adept at managing voluminous data across a variety of industries and geographies.
As well-established cloud service providers must meet international standards, you as a potential user and customer have the peace of mind that your data will be handled appropriately.
2) Understand your industry standards
Secondly, Although the Cloud Service Provider has the expertise, it is still a partnership. Therefore, it is important to consider the sensitivity of the data that will be processed and address this accordingly. To do this, you need to be aware of the various standards that apply to your company.
Let us have a look at the different standards that will be applicable:
International Compliance Standards
As a potential customer, it is important to familiarize yourself with the international bodies that regulate the standards of the industries. These standards apply worldwide and are enforced to provide consistency in dealing with universal issues such as governance, risk management, operations, security, and privacy. A well-established cloud service provider should be able to provide certification from one of these bodies that attests to its ability to meet these standards.
Vertical And Regional Standards
Vertical standards are industry specific. Therefore, it is important to familiarize yourself with the standards that are applicable to your specific industry since you will not be able to provide services unless it is industry compliant.
Well-known examples would be data protection laws such as the Protection of Personal Information Act (PoPIA) in South Africa and the European and UK General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) that apply nationally but require companies in other countries or regions to adhere to its laws.
These standards are all assessed by independent parties such as auditors and is therefore an assurance that the cloud service provider is continuously monitored for compliance and will be able to address the compliance needs of your company.
3) Compliance is not just a checkbox exercise
Now that you have considered the requirements for a potential partner or partners for your cloud service needs and understand the standards that apply to your industry, it will be necessary to regulate the new partnership.
This can be accomplished by drafting a data transfer agreement that sets out the roles and responsibilities of the parties that addresses not only the ownership, but also the handling and processing of the data.
4) Understanding the compliance tools on offer
Last but not least: Remember that even though the cloud service provider provides you with the toolset, the proverbial umbrella, to weather the rain, it is up to you to understand the tool that you have been given in order for your company to truly achieve its best potential.
I would therefore advise that user acceptance and engagement be encouraged for all the potential users in the company. After all, what is the point of implementing a new system if the entire company is not on board. This is an aspect that I cannot emphasize enough.
Technological change and all the uncertainty that it brings, can be hard to accept. Make sure that all the employees understand and appreciate the benefits that a move to the Cloud will bring.
Only then will your company truly be able to optimize and achieve its efficiency to full capacity.
In my next blog we will look at how the compliance tools that are available for cloud services will link with data protection regulations – such as the GDPR.