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Cloud Computing

Simply put, the "cloud" is the internet. Cloud computing is about putting more of your information and applications on systems accessible over the internet, and less on systems that a business or a person owns themselves. The cloud makes it possible for you to access your information from anywhere at any time.

How does it work?

Users can use cloud based applications on the internet using just a web browser, without having to install additional software locally on their computer. This makes it easy to use new cloud applications and easy to deploy existing applications to additional users. Examples of cloud service providers include Salesforce.com, Amazon Web Services, Google Apps and Microsoft Office 365.

What risk does it pose?

Physical location of data – Where users’ data is stored is subject to change by the cloud service provider. Data may be stored outside of Ireland, or Europe, within another country with different privacy or data protection laws.
Security / Data Protection / Compliance – Because the application is hosted on the internet it can be difficult to know whether the hosting provider is protecting the security of your data in line with local laws and regulations.
Long-term viability – If your cloud service provider were to go out of business you must ensure that you will be able to retain the use of your data.

Top Tips

• Carefully review the cloud service providers Terms & Conditions to ensure you know how they have committed to securing your data.
• Research the cloud service provider to ensure that they are reputable and that they have long term viability.
• Ensure that if the cloud service provider were to go out of business that you have a plan in place to retain the ongoing use of your data.