Transfer Pricing Associates

IP Challenges of Cloud Computing

post Tuesday October 18, 2011

cloud computing3


Cloud computing provides computation, software, data access, and storage services for consumers and businesses that do not require end-user knowledge of the physical location and configuration of the cloud system.  If a user has any internet access, cloud computing allows them to use applications without installation and also allows them to access their personal files from any computer.  In sum, cloud technology allows for much more efficient computing by centralizing storage, memory, processing and bandwidth.

Advantages to cloud computing include the fact that it is a lower cost alternative to buying and maintaining computer infrastructure from software companies like Oracle or SAP.  The downside, however, is that cloud computing presents new legal risks to intellectual property protection.  For one, since the user does not know where or how the information is stored, this makes it more difficult to investigate infringement claims.  Another intellectual property risk is that cloud computing may impact priority contests for inventors.  Inventors who are copyright owners may face issues with whether the cloud meets the statutory requirement of the copyrighted work being stored in a tangible medium of expression.

Further concerns with cloud computing is that the cloud provider may not handle your data as securely as you would like. It is important for users to read the cloud provider’s standard terms and conditions to ensure that private information is not at all accessible to other users and that the providers have strict confidentiality practices.  Some key security terms to consider when looking at a provider’s terms & conditions and standard practices include: secure gateway environment; audit/penetration tests & reports; security monitoring systems; multi-tenancy data segregation; identity and access management; and encryption.  Once the cloud provider’s terms & conditions and standard practices are compared to the user’s needs relative to the type and sensitivity of the information they will be entrusting to the cloud, the user should negotiate to include these security measures in the contract.

Another way to better ensure users are able to keep their information or applications private is by investigating the different types of cloud options and selecting the one that most fits their budget and security needs.  The four types of clouds are private, community, public, and hybrid clouds.  The private cloud is the most secure as it operates solely for the one organization that owns or leases the cloud’s infrastructure.  The community cloud’s infrastructure on the other hand is shared by several organizations that fit into a certain user community based on their organizations aims or concerns, i.e. security requirements.  The public cloud has the greatest number of users on a single infrastructure as the organization who owns the infrastructure sells space to the general public.  Lastly, the hybrid cloud is as the title provides, a mix between two or all three of the other cloud types.

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