Cloud Compliance Challenges and Solutions for UK Businesses

The Cloud has completely changed how businesses operate in the UK. Being scalable, agile and so cost-efficient, Cloud adoption has surged across industries, and is today used in businesses both big and small.

However, this shift in the way of doing business and storing data comes with a whole new set of considerations, particularly regarding data compliance, something that needs to be seriously managed to ensure that both business and customer data is kept safe.

Basic UK Regulations

UK data compliance is intricate. It is made up of various regulations that are used to govern how businesses handle data.

The General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) remains the cornerstone of compliance, emphasising principles like data minimisation, transparency, and subject access requests.

Companies that handle and store personal data on Cloud-based servers are responsible for ensuring compliance with the GDPR. Generally, the company will be seen as the “Cloud customer” and as such will take on the role of the data controller. And even if the company isn’t in complete control over the Cloud (which can happen if the company is using a 3rd party provider), the company will still take on the responsibility around the handling of the data.

Aside from the GDPR, businesses need to also consider industry-specific regulations, such as the Payment Card Industry Data Security Standard (PCI DSS) for financial services or the National Health Service (NHS) data protection standards for healthcare.

The Challenges around Cloud Data Compliance

While the Cloud has numerous benefits, several factors can complicate compliance for UK businesses. If you are one of those businesses that rely heavily on Cloud storage, you must understand the difficulties around compliance, to ensure that you don’t fall on the wrong side of regulations. These are just a few of the data compliance challenges that you might encounter:

  • Data Location and Residency Issues

One of the biggest concerns is data location and understanding where your Cloud provider stores data and having clear contractual clauses is a must.

The GDPR states that the personal data of EU citizens must be processed within the EEA (European Economic Area), unless stated otherwise. Businesses using Cloud services with servers outside the EEA need reliable and secure data transfer agreements (DTA) to ensure adequate data protection.

  • Data Breaches

This is another of the biggest concerns around storing or handling data on the Cloud. Data breaches and the resulting data theft are always something that companies should not only keep in mind but be fully prepared for. It is important that businesses only choose Cloud services that are renowned for their security features. Such services should have particular control over the prevention of unauthorised access.

  • Working with a Shared Responsibility Model

Cloud providers often have a “shared responsibility model” for data security. This means the provider secures the underlying infrastructure, while the businesses using the services remain responsible for the data itself and how it’s accessed and managed.

Businesses should be proactive when using this model and they can do this by implementing strong access controls, encryption, and data loss prevention (DLP) measures within their side of the Cloud environment.

  • Responsible Vendor Management

Selecting a reputable Cloud provider is naturally a must.

Businesses should always conduct thorough due diligence on a vendor’s security practices, compliance certifications, and incident response protocols. They should also commit to regularly reviewing these aspects to maintain proper oversight.

Easy Strategies for Effective Cloud Compliance

UK businesses like yours can take certain, hands-on steps to address these challenges and ensure that the approach to the Cloud is fully data-compliant. You can take these steps by either hiring the services of an IT company or by appointing someone in your business to be the data compliance officer. If you opt for the latter, then these are some strategies to try out:

  • Comprehensive Data Mapping – You should start by conducting a thorough data mapping exercise to identify all of the personal data stored and processed in your Cloud. This understanding helps to determine which regulations will apply to your company, as well as risk areas.
  • Cloud Provider Selection – Choose a Cloud provider with a strong track record of compliance and which has tough security measures. You should also look for companies with certifications like ISO 27001 and SOC 2, which demonstrate a commitment to data security.
  • Contractual Safeguards – Make sure that your contract with your Cloud provider clearly defines their responsibilities for data security and privacy.
  • Internal Controls and Training – Implement internal controls for data access, encryption, and incident response within the Cloud environment. Regular employee training on data privacy best practices should also be something that you do on an on-going basis.
  • Compliance Management Framework – Finally you shoulddevelop a comprehensive compliance management framework for the Cloud. This framework should map data flows, identify risks, and outline procedures for on-going monitoring and compliance audits, specifically for your business.

* If you need assistance with Cloud data compliance for your company, contact 24/7 IT Services today. Our helpful IT consultants can assist with Cloud Services, IT Security Solutions and more

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