Dave and I recently spoke with BNA's Daily Report for Executives about the importance of due diligence and planning for organizations entering into (or considering) enterprise cloud computing arrangements. You can find the article, "'Cloud' Customers Facing Contracts With Huge Liability Risks, Attorneys Say," here.
Nearly every day, businesses are entering into arrangements to save the enterprise what appear tobe significant sums on information technology infrastructure by placing corporate data ''in the cloud.'' Win-win, right? Not so fast. If it seems too good to be true, it probably is. Many of these deals are negotiated quickly, or not negotiated at all, due to the perceived cost savings. Indeed, many are closed not in a conference room with signature blocks, ceremony, and champagne, but in a basement office with the click of a mouse. Unfortunately, with that single click, organizations may be putting the security of their sensitive data (personal information, trade secrets, intellectual property, and more) at risk, and may be overlooking critical compliance requirements of privacy and data security law (not to mention additional regulations). My article "Contracting for Cloud Computing Services: Privacy and Data Security Considerations," published this week in BNA's Privacy & Security Law Report, explores a number of contractual provisions that organizations should consider in purchasing cloud services. You can read the full article here, reprinted with the permission of BNA.
Security governance is often well established in large organizations, but privacy governance typically lags. It is time for a broader approach to "information governance" that focusses on the kinds of sensitive data handled by the enterprise and establishes policies to assure compliance and effective risk management, as well as better customer, employee, government, and business relations.
Service contracts that involve protected personal information should include provisions allocating responsibility for protecting that information and responding to security breaches. Increasingly, this means incorporating specific references to applicable laws and information security standards, and often certifications of conformance.