Oliver Price’s Weekly GDPR Blog #18 – Cloud Thinking

From various conversations with clients this week, a number of people are now making real preparations for the arrival of the GDPR on the 25 May 2018. You are now asking for documents, having completed data audits and determined the areas that you need to work upon. In terms of lawyers’ input, it is mostly in relation to trading terms, privacy statements and data protection policies. I have also been asked frequently about cloud computer arrangements.
Cloud computing is of course a vague term, that describes the use of a computer server or servers, typically found via the internet and distant from business premises. In almost all cases cloud computing is offered as part of a package and under the terms of a service contract from an IT provider. This means that you have the opportunity to check the terms of the contract and whether it covers data protection issues.
The question I am usually asked is whether it is enough for those terms to say that a cloud supplier is “GDPR and data protection compliant”. Whilst the simple answer to that question could be “yes”, it is however a wise move to check with cloud suppliers what the geography of the computing arrangements looks like. In particular, in which countries is your data held as well as to find out what security arrangements are in place. It is a simple question to ask and usually businesses need to understand with most forms of data whether it is being taken outside the UK; where it is going beyond our shores, this is called a data transfer. Some countries are safe to hold data, whilst others are not. The results of this can be surprising. For example the Faroe Islands are regarded as safe, but possibly not Norway.
I understand that a number of data centres are being built nearer to the Arctic Circle because the atmosphere means there is free cooling available for them to operate with less energy use. Whatever those arrangements are, you should check where your data is held around the world.
On a personal note, this week I have had to revisit how to long divide polynomials and deal with binomial expansions. I was surprised that A Level mathematics returned to me from my hippocampus, despite some suggestions that I might be past all of that!
9 February 2018 

Last updated 09/02/2018