Data Ownership In The Cloud

With increasing performance and range of offering, more and more enterprises are opting to take their services into the cloud. At the same time the Wall Street Journal finds that CIO preoccupation with cyber security is dropping as a recent Gartner study finds.

There are other concerns with regards to storing data in the cloud such as backups, data security, privacy and transfer of data. So despite the advantages of cloud services an enterprise must answer the most crucial question when going for any cloud hosted service, that is ‘who owns the data’. The actual ownership of data in the cloud may be dependent on the nature of data stored as well as where it was created.

Ownership not always retained

There are two types of data that are stored in the cloud. The first category is the data that is created by the user before uploading it in the cloud and the other category is data that is created on the cloud platform itself. Data that is produced prior to any upload into a cloud platform may be governed by the appropriate copyright laws depending on the cloud server while the data that is generated after storage brings about a whole new dimension of ownership.

A number of cloud services tend to acquire user data and store it while the user will not be able to retrieve all of it after he provided it. For instance, linkedin does not permit other services to access all the user data. In this particular case, personal data such as the email address of the user or friends cannot be retrieved by third party services through the linkedin API.

A number of companies try to remain relevant by preserving all access to the clients’ data to themselves. Some free services reserve the right to keep user data within their platforms while others take ownership of a only a part of the data uploaded to their servers. So it seems wise to not use any cloud service that retains ownership of part or all of a user’s data.

Security often a concern

Regardless of the online service used, it is important to use data encryption for all data stored in the cloud so as to maximize on security as well as give a form of control over his data. To date, there are no regulations set for cloud computing and all that has partial governance over cloud providers are the local set rules.

All issues that will come about as a result of the process of storing data in the cloud, boils down to clarity. Hence, it is advisable to have a clear definition of all the advantages, disadvantages and costs associated with a certain cloud platform. This will help to better understand and appreciate the cloud operations revolving around data management.

Picture Credits: bixentro / Flickr
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