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Who owns the data in the cloud?

I want to put my firm’s data in the cloud but I’m not sure of the data ownership implications.

The ownership of data in the cloud is a critical issue for professional services firms to understand and manage but determining ownership can be difficult depending on the cloud vendor.

While the cloud frees up business to be more flexible and productive choosing the right provider and the right service is key to ensuring you maintain control over your data.

The single best way to ensure you retain data ownership is to have it referenced in the terms of service or contract you enter into with the cloud service provider.

Habitat3’s privacy policy for example clearly states: “under all and any circumstances client data stored on Habitat3 servers remains the property of the person, corporation or organisation recorded in the service activation form – the account holder.”

This clear identification of who owns the data being uploaded to the cloud service is an important aspect when considering which service provider to use for your hosting.

In addition to the data ownership question is the question of having data returned. If you choose to terminate the service you will want your complete data set returned to you. In many cases cloud providers will not provide you with your “database” and you may be forced to manually export individual records or re-enter the data into your new system.

Habitat3’s terms of service for example clearly states: “client data can be provided on or before the termination date via FTP after receiving the termination form at no charge.”

Here are a few questions to ask of your potential cloud service providers;

  1. Does your privacy policy clearly state that we will retain legal ownership of all data we provide and generate within the cloud service?

  2. Does your Terms of Service clearly state our data will be provided to us in a complete form if we terminate the service?

  3. Who else can access our data once we upload it to your cloud service?

  4. Does the data ever end up outside of Australia (including backup data)?

As Habitat3 are specialists in providing hosting for professional services firms we will never store any of your data outside of Australia and do not provide access to the data to anyone without your permission.

Please contact us to find out more about how we can protect your data in the cloud.

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