Get prepared for cloud-based computing

Last updated 16:05 12/02/2013

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Businesses considering switching to cloud-based computing can now access free guidance on how to secure their privacy in the cloud.

The Privacy Commissioner released a checklist today of potential questions small-to-medium enterprises (SMEs) can use when working out whether a change to cloud computing may suit them.

Cloud computing is the name commonly given to computer resources such as data storage being delivered as a service via the internet.

Commissioner Marie Shroff said many SMEs were flying blind with the range of options, providers and risks involved in cloud computing including ensuring that their client and staff information remains safe.

"The reality is you're still responsible for what happens to your customers' information in the cloud."

Some questions to ponder or ask cloud providers are which information will be sent to the cloud, how will the information be kept secure, and will your cloud provider tell you if there has been a security breach.

Shroff said SMEs should also ask whether they could get their information back quickly if it was wanted, and whether information could be deleted.

The commissioner said shifting to the cloud can often make really good sense, but any potential breach of privacy could result in customers' losing trust and therefore hit bottom lines.

She said the commission had seen a gap in the market for advice of this kind after talking to New Zealand businesses and government agencies and consulted with those groups to develop the guidance.

The cloud guidance is available for free on the commission's website.

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