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SOURCE : www.cloudiosphere.com

As a growing industry, the Cloud is going through an interesting process. Countries and international bodies around the world are only just beginning to define the legal statutes that define the Cloud and, more importantly, the rights of individuals and businesses functioning within the Cloud.

Key legal issues, such as jurisdiction and privacy, are not yet clearly defined or can change drastically from one country to the next. Given the “international” reach of the Cloud, this can cause a good deal of confusion for businesses storing and sharing data online.

The primary virtue of working with the Cloud— the fact that users can access data from anywhere— is at the heart of the problem. With cloud computing systems, users are able to store and later access data on a hard drive in cyberspace. Many business users of the Cloud, however, are not aware of where their data is stored, or the fact that where their data is stored can have some sizable repercussions when it comes to the privacy and control of that data.

A recent study commissioned by the European Union highlighted the confusion that many businesses experience when working with the Cloud. The study found that EU citizens were working with US servers but did not realize that under US law their data could be accessed by a third party legally. The Patriot Act, passed in the aftermath of 9.11, gives US authorities the legal right to access data stored on a US server at any time. Businesses ostensibly operating outside of the US found that their critical business data was not as secure and private as they might have thought, according to the Center for the Study of Conflicts and the Center for European Policy Studies, who ran the study.

In response, the EU has only just begun to reform its own laws to address these issues. Canada has also been leading the charge to protect private data of users and businesses.

This brings up a critical question for any business organization: where is your data stored and how secure is it? As international bodies catch up with the fast developing world of the Cloud, it is imperative that businesses begin to consider where and how they store their data. Until statute begins to keep pace with technological developments in the Cloud, businesses need to seek out Cloud services that are based in countries where they can feel confident that their privacy rights and the integrity of their information are being adequately protected.

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Vijay Nachimuthu

By Vijay Nachimuthu

Vijay Nachimuthu is a Managing Principal of AltaFlux. His blogs mainly focuses on latest cloud technology trends and its impact on enterprises.