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How to Locate Data in Cloud Computing

3 of 6 in Series: The Essentials of Managing Data in Cloud Computing

After data goes into the cloud, you may not have control over where your company’s data is stored geographically. Consider these issues connected with cloud computing services:

  • Specific country laws: Laws governing data differ across geographic boundaries. Your own country's legal protections may not apply if your data is located outside of the country. A foreign government may be able to access your data or keep you from fully controlling your data when you need it.

  • Data transfer across country borders: A global company with subsidiaries or partners (or clients for that matter) in other countries may be concerned about cross-border transfer of data due to local laws. Virtualization makes this an especially tough problem because the cloud provider might not know where the data is at any particular moment.

  • Co-mingling of data: Even if your data is in a country that has laws you’re comfortable with, your data may be physically stored in a database along with data from other companies. This raises concerns about virus attacks or hackers trying to get at another company’s data.

  • Secondary data use: In public cloud situations, your data or metadata may be vulnerable to alternative or secondary uses by the cloud service provider.

    • Without proper controls or service level agreements, your data may be used for marketing purposes (and merged with data from other organizations for these alternative uses). The recent uproar about Facebook mining data from its network is an example.

    • The service provider may own any metadata it has created to help manage your data, lessening your ability to maintain control over your data.

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