If you’re in an industry heavily impacted by compliance regulations, such as health care or finance, you may regard cloud solutions with a wary eye. What seems like an operational and financial boon for your organization could spell trouble in terms of adhering to regulations. Guidelines like requiring you to retain physical possession of data may render cloud solutions out of reach.
You may need to reevaluate this kind of thinking. While there is some validity to the concern that placing data in the cloud requires you to relinquish some control over its location and whether the cloud provider’s employees have access to it, there may be reason to give the cloud a second look.
Compliance Can Mean a Lot of Things: The term compliance doesn’t refer to a set of particular rules; they vary according to industry, country and a number of other variables such as the type of workload. If you’ve heard that the cloud is not good for compliance, this is a reason to explore that concept more carefully because it’s a generalization that may not apply to your industry or country. It simply depends on the compliance rules that apply to your company.
Your Compliance Rules May Not Include the Cloud: Even if you have a rather detailed and restrictive compliance policy, there may be a gray area that allows for cloud utilization. Many frameworks don’t include specific language surrounding cloud usage often because the regulations were written before the cloud was in use. As a result, you may be forced to read between the lines to determine whether you need a strict adherence or if you can use cloud solutions without compromising your regulatory adherence.
For instance, there are multiple ways to interpret a rule that requires you to maintain physical control over digitally-stored personal data. You may interpret this to mean that the data may need to be stored in on-site servers. The alternative is an interpretation that assumes that because cloud providers generally allow you to determine the geographical location of the hosted data center, you still effectively retain physical control over the data.
Some Compliance Allows for Cloud Solutions: Many frameworks have been in existence before the cloud era, but those frameworks often give specific guidelines about how to use the cloud within the regulations. It is common for them not to say that the cloud is off limits but rather to offer guidelines and rules about what can and can’t be stored in the cloud. Things can get more complicated when you add multi-cloud environments, but it’s a good idea to dig into your compliance regulations to determine how restrictive they are.
Avoiding Extremism: You may want to take an extremely risk-averse position on cloud solutions when it comes to compliance, but you may miss out on some hefty benefits available with cloud solutions. The danger of this type of attitude is that it resembles someone who disconnects from the internet because of cyber security risks without considering the massive business opportunities available through online commerce.
Do you need help evaluating your compliance regulations for cloud use opportunities? Contact us at eXemplify, where we can help guide your process to assess risks and potential benefits with cloud utilization.