If you’re running a modern business in Houston, you’re likely using the cloud to host your company’s applications and data. Whether you’re using apps on a platform like Microsoft 365 or have custom apps of your own, the cloud enables you to have as much computing power as you need to make your business grow.
As IT matures, governments the world over realize the power of data — and how this power can be misused or abused by cybercriminals and legitimate organizations alike. This is why data regulations have been and continue to be passed into law. And since the cloud is one of today’s primary technologies, many rules and regulations now cover it as well. Here’s why cloud compliance is imperative for your business.
Cloud compliance in a nutshell
There are many state, federal, and international regulations pertaining to the proper use of the cloud — and to abide by all of these is to be cloud compliant. The spirit of these laws is to protect consumers, employees, as well as organizations like yours that use the cloud.
The standards you’ll follow will depend on the type of your business and the industry you’re in. For instance, healthcare data regulations demand that individually identifiable health information (IIHI) be protected against unauthorized access, while at the same time be immediately available to those who are authorized to access it. This example illustrates the three things that cloud regulations cover, namely data security, data accessibility, and data privacy.
What is data security?
Data security refers to the extent to which data is protected from unauthorized access, use, distribution, sale, alteration, and deletion. To illustrate, files that are encrypted and stored in accounts that require multifactor authentication are much more secure than files that are unencrypted and stored in accounts that only require passwords to access. Such stringency is a normal requirement of many cloud regulations.
What is data accessibility?
This is the ease by which authorized users can obtain the data they need to perform their tasks. Cloud regulations for this not only pertain to accessing data where it is normally stored, but also to accessing reliable copies of the data when the original is deleted, tainted, or locked away by ransomware.
To illustrate, intensive care units care for people who are in critical condition, and accessibility to their health information can mean life or death. If a ransomware attack successfully encrypts such information, the hospital needs to be able to draw from their backup data as quickly as possible or else risk endangering the lives of their patients.
What is data privacy?
This points to the expectation that personally identifiable data such as IIHI will only be used in the agreed-upon manner. This is based on the principle that people have the right to choose the details they want to share about themselves.
If an organization asks for information that an individual would not share in other contexts (such as when an insurance agency asks an applicant for their personal health information), then a bond of trust between them is formed. The same bond is formed when an individual shares their info with another party to accomplish a particular purpose, such as to buy something online.
If that trust is betrayed, then people will be less likely to share more information. This is a grotesque illustration, but let’s say that hospital directors sell the IIHI of their terminally ill patients to travel agencies and funeral parlors. If people find out that such patient information was purchased so that companies can market end-of-life services to the families of the dying patients, there will be a public uproar. This is because we deem using such health information to take advantage of people when they’re most vulnerable to be morally reprehensible.
Furthermore, those who learn about the directors’ indiscretion may also begin to distrust others in the medical profession. When patients stop disclosing what ails them to their doctors, diagnoses become difficult. Worse, people may even stop visiting their doctors altogether. Both scenarios are likely to lead to poorer health outcomes. More than affecting individuals, such outcomes would negatively affect families, communities, and economies as a whole.
All in all, cloud compliance is vital for your business because data is vital for everyone in the information age. Cloud regulations exist to ensure data security, data accessibility, and data privacy. Cloud compliance fosters trust between you and your stakeholders and builds your reputation as a reliable provider of value. On the other hand, non-compliance can open you up to legal liabilities, damage your reputation, make you lose customers, and result in the revocation of your business license.
To achieve cloud compliance, turn to Prosum for help. Get in touch with us today to learn more.