Security VAR Global Secure Systems (GSS) has counseled firms wanting to get involved in Microsoft's launch into the cloud computing arena to check regulatory requirements on data storage before doing so.
The web-based Windows Azure operating system unveiled this week will enable software developers to construct web sites and applications. Charges will be based on how much power developers use on the software giant's network of data centres. A prototype was launched on Monday with which developers can experiment for free and Microsoft hopes this will generate feedback on the system's functionality.
But GSS managing director David Hobson has advised companies intending to embrace the cloud computing model to pay close attention to the Data Protection Act. Hobson urged firms to make sure they notified customers and regulators of their intention to use cloud computing and to ensure that personal data is a stored in a country providing adequate protection.
"Microsoft's launch into the world of cloud computing, announced this week, is quite revolutionary since it is based on Windows Server 2008 running on Microsoft data centres and accessible only as a service," he said. "While Azure is highly appealing, the problem facing many businesses is where their data is actually being stored, as current legislation mandates that firms must indicate to their customers where their data will be stored.
"Revolutionary though Azure is, it is important that companies extend their legal compliance and customer agreements to support Microsoft's cloud computing initiative. And that is before we even begin to talk about extending the IT security envelope to support this brave new virtual world of computing," he added.
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