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The Cloud and Compliance: 3 Questions you Should Be Asking

The Cloud and Compliance: 3 Questions you Should Be Asking

Cloud-based applications and services are becoming ubiquitous in their ability to address the diverse needs and on-demand mindset of the user in today’s marketplace. These services come in many different forms that include storage and computing. However, there are some important factors that are involved when it comes to the Cloud and compliance in your organization.

This post will give you some more insight into the relationship between the cloud and compliance.

Storage in the cloud allows businesses to store and share documents and files. It provides critical data backup that is an important part of a disaster recovery solution. With cloud computing an organization can access the processing power of a remote server rather than be limited by the power of an individual’s computer.

A growing trend within companies is the concept of “Bring Your Own Device” (BYOD) which allows a given user access to software services from all of his or her devices.

These devices include:

  • PCs
  • Notebooks
  • Smartphones
  • Tablets.

The ability to enable employees to work at any time from anywhere and on any device provides real business benefits and is highly favored (according to many recent surveys) by both employers and their staff due to the increased productivity and flexibility.

The Relationship Between The Cloud And Compliance


It also brings significant risks, not just in security but in software license compliance as well. While there are tremendous benefits to being able to use multiple devices to perform one’s job function, there are also plenty of risks. It can complicate the license management process.

Here are three questions to seriously consider in relationship to the Cloud and software license compliance:

Are Licenses Required?


Does the device connect to an Exchange server or something similar? Does it authenticate upon access? If the answer is ‘yes’, then it probably means that a Client Access License (CAL) is required for all of the devices that aren’t covered.

What Are The Policies Regarding the Cloud?


There should be company-wide policies governing the cloud. Get clarification on what these policies are.  If this is not the case, it should be addressed as soon as possible.

Here are some of the issues you need to be aware of:

  • The process for provisioning and releasing cloud services.
  • Required approvals and notifications.
  • The terms and conditions involved in the cloud arrangements.

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Can You Transfer Software Licenses to the Cloud?


The transfer of licenses to the cloud may be prohibited, carry restrictions, require pre-approval by the software publisher, or involve additional costs. Also, reclaiming an organization’s licenses back from the cloud may not be permitted. As previously mentioned, getting a clear understanding of what company policies are regarding the software publisher’s terms and conditions and any special circumstances should be undertaken on a organization-wide basis.



Increased productivity, ease of provisioning and flexibility for employees are some of the benefits driving the trend of cloud-based applications and services. By all surveys and forecasts, it is here to stay, at least for the foreseeable future.  Along with it comes the challenge of maintaining compliance, considering it is just one element of a complex hybrid technological environment.

It will be hard to envision how compliance can be achieved and maintained without some advanced automated monitoring and control system.  We’ll take a closer look in the next article. Stay tuned.


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