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What You Need To Consider When Implementing A GDPR Cloud

What You Need To Consider When Implementing A GDPR Cloud


The General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) has had a significant impact on how organizations manage personal data. The emergence of cloud computing has presented new challenges for organizations seeking to comply with GDPR requirements. This article provides a comprehensive guide to what you need to consider when implementing a GDPR cloud and the steps you can take to ensure compliance.

GDPR and its objectives

The main objective of the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) is to safeguard the personal data of EU citizens and residents by enforcing a comprehensive data protection law.

The six GDPR principles promote the responsible and ethical processing of personal data while ensuring that data subjects are entitled to several rights that organizations must uphold.

Data controllers and processors are bound by law to implement adequate security measures to maintain the confidentiality and integrity of personal data and must inform supervisory authorities and data subjects in the event of a data breach.

The GDPR cloud – cloud computing and GDPR compliance

Cloud computing offers various types of services including Software as a Service (SaaS), Platform as a Service (PaaS), and Infrastructure as a Service (IaaS). These services provide organizations with a cost-effective and scalable way to manage their IT operations.

Each type of cloud computing service has different implications for GDPR compliance. SaaS providers are usually data controllers, whereas PaaS and IaaS providers may be data processors, joint controllers, or independent controllers depending on the services they offer.

Organizations must understand the GDPR cloud compliance requirements of each service model and ensure that their GDPR cloud computing providers are compliant with GDPR regulations. This includes ensuring adequate security measures and the appropriate use of data protection impact assessments (DPIAs).

The challenges of GDPR cloud compliance

Achieving GDPR cloud compliance can be challenging due to various factors, including data protection, data transfers, and data breaches.

One of the primary concerns is ensuring that personal data is protected when processed, stored, or transmitted in the cloud. Organizations must also ensure that they have appropriate measures in place to safeguard personal data during data transfers, especially when data is transferred outside the EU or the EEA.

In addition, organizations must have a plan in place to detect and respond to data breaches promptly. Cloud service providers and customers must collaborate to ensure that the GDPR compliance requirements are met and that personal data is adequately protected throughout its lifecycle in the cloud.

The issue of “joint controllership” in the cloud

All public cloud services operate on the principle of “joint ownership”. This essentially means that both the cloud service provider (CSP) and the customer are responsible for security. The exact areas of responsibility will depend on the type of cloud service being used. “Joint controllership”, however, is specific to GDPR.

Joint controllership is a concept in GDPR where two or more entities share the responsibility for determining the purposes and means of personal data processing. In cloud computing, joint controllership can arise when the cloud service provider and the customer jointly determine how personal data is processed.

The implications of joint controllership for cloud computing providers and their customers are significant, as both parties are equally responsible for GDPR compliance.

Cloud service providers and their customers must have a clear understanding of their respective responsibilities as joint controllers and ensure that they implement appropriate technical and organizational measures to protect personal data. They must also have a transparent agreement in place that outlines their roles and responsibilities regarding GDPR compliance.

Steps to ensure GDPR cloud compliance

Here are some steps that organizations can take to achieve GDPR cloud compliance in cloud computing:

Conduct a risk assessment: Organizations should conduct a risk assessment to identify the potential risks to personal data when using cloud computing services. The assessment should cover the entire data lifecycle, including data collection, storage, transfer, and deletion.

Choose a GDPR-compliant cloud provider: Organizations should choose a cloud service provider that is GDPR-compliant and has appropriate security measures in place to protect personal data. The cloud provider must also have a transparent data processing agreement (DPA) that outlines its responsibilities and obligations under GDPR.

Implement appropriate security measures: Organizations must implement appropriate security measures to protect personal data, including encryption, access controls, and data backups. They should also ensure that their employees and third-party vendors who have access to personal data are trained in data protection and security best practices.

Conduct regular audits: Organizations should conduct regular audits to ensure that their cloud service provider is compliant with GDPR and that personal data is processed according to the data processing agreement (DPA).

Implement data protection impact assessments (DPIAs): Organizations must conduct DPIAs to identify and mitigate potential privacy risks associated with personal data processing activities. DPIAs are mandatory when processing personal data in high-risk scenarios, such as processing large amounts of sensitive data.

Be transparent with data subjects: Organizations must inform data subjects about their personal data processing activities and obtain their consent when necessary. They should also inform data subjects about their GDPR rights, including the right to access, rectify, and erase their personal data.

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