Thursday, January 28, 2010

Flying through THE CLOUD with a Lawyer on Your Back.

Just about everything I hear lately has something to do with “THE CLOUD”. I am just wondering is that like outsourcing or the ASP (application service provider) model of the dotbomb era? Don’t get me wrong, I like jingoisms as much as the next guy. I just need to know what they mean and their implications. Cloud computing is using the internet to bring technology or more likely software application to you. And it is not really bringing them to you it is making them available to you over the internet. For me they are really like the ASP model of yesterday year. So I take no issue with the name Cloud Computing. In fact I don’t think “THE CLOUD” is inherently good or bad. But it is different and you should consider how it is different from using software you pay for within your computing environment. Just a few things to think about when using someone else’s software application on their environment for business purposes—in other words, “Cloud Computing”.
1. Sometimes relationships go bad or even end and when they do how will you get your information back or have access to it without their “Cloudware”
2. You can’t delegate your legal responsibilities so remember privacy, security, records retention, tax filing support , etc. don’t go away just because your data is floating elsewhere.
3. If you need to have access to your Cloud data for litigation purposes, will your provider accommodate the request and in a timely and defensible fashion?
4. When a regulator wants to see the data or check to make sure it is being stored in accordance with regulations (if they exist for the industry or type of data at issue) will the government deem the environment OK for the task for which they were hired?
5. The rules the Cloud Co. may be following may be different than yours so make sure they follow rules you can live with or contractually make them follow your rules.
6. Anticipate new governance, risk and compliance risks.
7. Make sure the Cloud Co. deals with your disaster recovery requirements.
8. Make sure your litigation response process and e-discovery plan can be accommodated in the Cloud.

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