A few years ago, the cloud was met with uncertainty and skepticism by a majority of the business world. However, today it seems inevitable that on-premises systems will be in peril (at least those without any form of cloud deployment option). Cloud computing – a concept that boasts simplicity in deployment, operation and licensing – has, amongst other things, changed IT and business management across all industries.
So how can you ensure regulatory compliance with Cloud 2.0?
Compliance is a vast area, spanning from regulatory requirements such as Sarbanes-Oxley, 21 CFR Part 11, to the soon to be enforced European Union General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR). You may already have internal controls in place to ensure compliance. As your organization moves to the cloud, whether it’s a public, private or hybrid cloud, your vendor will take control.
Here are a few tips that you should keep an eye out for compliance in the cloud:
What is in the Service Level Agreement (SLA)?
Never assume your vendor’s standard terms and conditions fit your specific requirements. It’s always smart to start your own risk-benefit analysis of the standard contract and make sure it is satisfactory for your compliance needs. If not, determine what you need to negotiate so that the terms meet your requirements.
Monitor Your Cloud Vendor
Business continuity is very important and even with a good SLA, you still need to ask yourself – what if the vendor’s cloud goes down? You need to consider key elements such as backup, disaster recovery, availability, the number and locations of data centers – all of this will ensure you can minimize business disruption and maximize continuity.
Security: The Primary Concern
While evaluating vendors, begin by searching for best practices and strategies for user identity, data protection, access management and incident response. Be prepared for security-specific challenges to emerge as you are lining up your specific requirements with your vendor. Data location, multi-tenancy, user de-provisioning, as well as privacy issues are all factors worth considering.
Get your IT security personnel on board at your earliest possible convenience to weigh out the potential risks and benefits when moving to the cloud. This provides you with the opportunity to align security with corporate goals in a formal manner. It also helps assess the risks and make appropriate budget proposals to fit the overarching business strategy. Stay up to date with the latest security innovations and partnerships among cloud vendors that may support decision making.
No matter how you look at it, the technology behind the cloud is there to help. The growth of the cloud is incredible and right now it’s evolving radically. The bottom line is – the cloud will definitely change the way we do business in the future. Will you be among the organizations leading the change or will you find yourself lagging behind?