The cloud is NOT a safe space!

Why is that? The cloud itself is a complex combination of services by various IT companies. One data centre or several. Cables through which data are transferred, programmes provided by various companies and maintained by other companies. That means that a lot of programmers, a lot of engineers, a lot of people are involved.

And wherever complex technology is contributed to by many people, you can never say that it is fundamentally safe. When you build a space shuttle—even if you have a billion-dollar budget available and apply a myriad cross-checks and quality controls—problems and accidents will still sometimes occur in the end. Besides, there are also a great many criminal organisations active on the Internet, making billions in profit

What can be done to improve safety in the cloud?

As always, the best safety measure is knowledge—about the technology, the processes and the mechanisms. You need to understand the laws and be able to read contracts. Don’t accept everything at face value; be critical. It often turns out that much of what is being offered is hot air. And you should demand complete transparency from your provider, something many providers are still a long way away from. But these days there are also many excellent examples of companies offering top-notch services that are much more secure than anything one could operate at one’s own company.  

If you want to check the quality of cloud services, I can only recommend consulting the staraudit.org website.


Dr. Tobias Höllwarth is President of EuroCloud Europe eurocloud.org, Director of the StarAudit Programme staraudit.org, and heads a European network of IT lawyers: cloudprivacycheck.eu/who/.

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