Foreign clouds in the UK sky: How foreign laws affect public cloud services and your business
The rapid adoption of cloud computing introduces a number of fundamental challenges that most organisations fail to recognize early in the technology selection process.
Mainstream cloud computing services often refers to software and data stored and run on shared hardware resources. They can deliver various software as services (SaaS) to you at a lower cost due to economies of scale. Certain services are also touted as more secure than others.
It is equally important to understand the possibility of the following consequences before you make a decision. Change to migrate to and from cloud are both expensive, time consuming and cause interference to routine business operations.
- Companies like Amazon Web Services, Gmail, Drive, Facebook, Office 365 etc are all US based and are subject to US law.
- Public cloud systems are more rigid than having your own private system. Often these services have been standardized and simplified to mainstream low cost use. Private systems on the other hand enables you to build the systems to work for your business, rather than the other way around
- Your data is held wherever the the service providers datacentres are or will be in the future. In the “cloud” there is no boarder control. If you rely on a global company to provide the service your data may be in the UK or any other part of the world without your knowledge.
- The USA patriot Act applicable for majority of cloud providers
- FISA (The US Foreign Intelligence and Surveillance) act applicable for majority of cloud providers
- Rigidness and lack of flexibility and customization. the need for your business to work around the technology rather than other way around
- High dependency on a single third party company
- Unpredictability, service providers business changes (think, mergers, acquisitions, shareholder priorities, disasters, commercial and political interests etc) will directly impact your routine mission critical business processes.