In general, online privacy concerns fall under two categories: First, corporate privacy. Second, personal privacy. Corporate privacy is concerned with the protection of corporate data from retrieval or interception by unauthorized parties. So, security is important for protection of trade secrets, proprietary information, and privileged communications. The failure to maintain confidentiality can result in a loss of “trade secret” status pursuant to California Civil Code §§ 3426 et seq.
Furthermore, the recent trends in outsourcing have increased the risks associated with “economic espionage.” In fact, businesses should be cautious when transferring proprietary technology to overseas partners because foreign governments sponsor theft. The applicable statute for theft of trade secrets and economic espionage is 18 U.S.C. §§ 1831 et seq.
In order to protect corporate privacy it’s best to follow these steps: (1) Identify and label confidential information; (2) Restrict access to confidential information; (3) Use encryption; (4) Use firewall and secure username/password; (5) Use software that detects trade secret theft; (6) Include warnings in privileged correspondence; (7) Provide computers without hard drives; (8) Prohibit use of removable storage (e.g., flash drives); (9) Audit employee computers; (10) Prohibit and monitor external web-based email services; (11) Execute Confidentiality and Non-disclosure Agreements; and (12) Execute Computer-Use Policies.
In today’s world, cloud computing is risky because you can’t secure its perimeter. For example, state or federal agencies must comply with regulatory statutes (e.g., HIPAA, Sarbanes–Oxley Act). The National Institute of Standards and Technology has compared the adoption of cloud computing to wireless technology. In recent years, organizations have learned how to protect wireless data, so they’ll probably do the same with cloud computing. You should bear in mind that privacy rights can be waived by contract and privacy expectations may be negated by express policies. So, a company’s policies (whether formal or implied) may create a reasonable expectation of privacy in electronic communications. In general, users have reasonable expectations of privacy in personal email contents and text messages.
What is Cloud Computing?
Cloud computing is a global technological infrastructure, where user of a computer accesses and uses software and data located outside of a digital device. The typical scenario is that a user connects to external devices thru an Internet connection, but has no knowledge of the nature or location of the server on which the data and software are located. In essence, this anonymous, external, and often unidentifiable interaction is known as “cloud computing” or simply “the Cloud.” There are three basic types of cloud services. First, it’s Infrastructure as a Service (IaaS). Second, it’s Platform as a Service (PaaS). Third, it’s Software as a Service (SaaS). IaaS seeks to obviate the need for customers to have their own data centers. The provider sells access to web storage space, servers, and internet connections. The provider owns and maintains the hardware and customers rent space according to their needs. The customer maintains control of software environment, but not over equipment.
PaaS provides a place for developers to create and publish new web applications stored on provider’s servers. The customers use the Internet to access the platform and create applications using the provider’s API, web portal, or gateway software. In fact, SaaS is the most common service. SaaS applications provide the function of software that would normally have been installed and run on the user’s desktop. The application is stored on the service provider’s servers and runs through the user’s web browser over the Internet. Examples include Gmail, Facebook, and YouTube.
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Salar Atrizadeh, Esq. is the principal and founder of the Law Offices of Salar Atrizadeh. He is licensed to practice law in the State of California, District of Columbia, and the United States District and Bankruptcy Courts. He has an extensive background in technology and holds a bachelor’s of science degree in Computer Information Systems with a minor in Database Management Systems.
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