Cloud Computing: The Legal Dilemmas
Cloud computing has fronted the expansion of the personal computer. Microsoft’s Bill Gates envisioned the personalization of the computer over 20 years ago, and these dreams have been surpassed. The desire to expand the utility of personal computing has brought to light the need for control of data sharing. Outsourcing of hardware resources is a fairly new area in computing. Normally termed as cloud computing, data sharing has fronted a novel catalogue of legal implications, with most jurisdictions seeking to control the power wielded by providers of such services.
These jurisdictions are actually justified in their cause, owing to the growing tendency for cloud computing to replace onsite data storage. What will become of individuals who are not able to handle the required expertise in managing the data stored in the cloud? Is there any conflict of interest when it comes to cloud computing? Do onshore and offshore data centers offers analogous services?
Randal Jackson has raised this concern, with relation to the appointment of Revera by Microsoft as a provider of cloud computing services. Conflict of interest arises from the fact that Revera has private datacenters offering the same services he is to oversee at Microsoft, albeit on a private offering. Since Microsoft does the same on public clouds, the concern are aligned with whether Revera will be able to assure the sovereignty of the two roles.
Similar concerns have originated with regard to the manner in which data sharing and handling is to be overseen. Currently, specific laws are vague and this has come in the way of expansion of cloud computing with some entities facing legal stand-offs. In addition to the loss of business, these legal impasses have contributed to the inability of tech startups to focus on expanding their services towards cloud computing for commercial purposes. Private cloud computing companies have also sought to limit their services within jurisdictions where legal implications are limited to nil. On the same note, by limiting their clientele to certain companies, liabilities are mitigated, making it easy to operate.
The future looks bright though, considering that legislation regarding administration of clouds have sprung up in numerous locations. Hopes are now turned to the consolidation of views and formation of a globally-acceptable and focused piece of legislation which will allow cloud computing to expand across the nations. Unlike other technology-based inventions such as the internet, cloud computing presents a novel set of challenges. Considering the sensitive nature of the information being placed in the cloud, the rush to quick-fix solutions could be a component of doom.
There is never a rush when it comes to the search for lasting solutions. Unlike in the past, the fact that the global village is highly developed, dissemination of solutions will be an immediate step in the development of a solution. Meanwhile, corporations and individuals will just have to make-do with the existing facilities of data handling and data transfer, hoping that a decision will be reached soon.
By Rick Watson
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