The ugly, the bad and the good of cloud computing

I’d like to thank the members of the Information, Management, Privacy and Access Committee of the Ontario Association of School Business Officials, who invited me to address the subject of privacy compliance and cloud computing at their winter workshop today.

Here’s a snippet from my prepared speech (so you can understand the theme). I’ve also put my slides below.

…and that’s the thing. The cloud is a metaphor for the internet, and it’s a very pejorative metaphor if you’re a privacy person. It implies that the party receiving services has a cloudy idea of the computing resources that are being applied to its data.

So it’s this loose control concept that has thus far defined cloud computing that causes privacy and security concerns – and rightly so. Since school boards have a need to control their data because of regulation and other reasons, they need to work with cloud vendors to re-shape the concept if they are to reap the benefits of the cloud.

The presentation included discussion on the Lakehead University Google outsourcing, the 2005 British Columbia “Maximus outsourcing” and the very useful report by the Alberta Commissioner on public sector outsourcing practices.

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