Data security risks of cloud computing

MARK BLACKWELL
MARK BLACKWELL MANAGING DIRECTOR XIT2

In October 2005 one of the world’s most powerful businessmen sent a memo to his top managers. It sounded the alarm that we were about to see an innovation that would change the way we get information and do business. That businessman was Bill Gates and he was referring to cloud computing.

Cloud computing allows data to be stored and processed on the internet rather than on a firm’s own infrastructure, which promises cheaper and efficient corporate IT. But it is raising eyebrows regarding security as data will be held outside the traditional boundaries of business.

Those using this system in the mortgage and property industries must adhere to stringent security protocols. Data must be issued with protection from state-of-the-art encryption and is further protected by limiting external access to known IP addresses.

Uncertainty over the location of data in the cloud throws up issues with regulatory restrictions on who can process the data and from where. To maximise Treating Customers Fairly requirements and ensure that data not held on your site is not being compromised, you will need accurate reporting and management information.

So where do we go from the cloud? We still need to strengthen security measures across the industry and to ensure upgrades take place before we start chasing the next technological big thing.

If we don’t, we’ll be chasing our tails for years to come. And as dog owners will attest, you can chase as fast as you like but in the end it will always be one step ahead.