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Risks Of Outsourcing Digital Asset Storage To Cloud Providers

by Naresh Sarwan on April 14, 2011

The National Archives of Australia (NAA) has published an article about the risks of outsourcing data storage to external providers who hold records in the cloud.  NAA have indicated that most of the risks can be mitigated if recognised:

  • Regulatory requirements may be broken
  • The storage location may create legal consequences
  • Access to, or use of, information may not be authorised
  • Privacy may be compromised
  • Access to the information may not be maintained
  • The storage provider may go bust
  • The readability and usability of assets may become compromised
  • The value of the information as evidence may be diminished
  • Metadata may not be appropriately maintained and the assets become unusable as a result

A number of other commentators have recently pointed out potential shortcomings in the Cloud, however, it should be pointed out that these apply to any form of outsourced storage (and could have equal relevance to analogue assets).  Furthermore, as evidenced by recent government data security failures that have occurred in the UK, there is no guarantee that in-sourced options fair much better either.  But, the central premise of the article is difficult to contest – that data owners should conduct a full risk assessment of external data storage provisions and ensure they know where data is going and what is being done with it.


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