“The cloud” is often used to refer to cloud computing or cloud storage. “Cloud computing” refers to the technology model for enabling ubiquitous network access to a sharable pool of resources. “Cloud storage” refers to the technology model where digital data is readily available and accessible through computer services provided by server storage providers. While cloud storage typically refers to hosted object storage, the term has also been used to refer to data storage available as a service, like block storage.

Cloud-Related Technologies

The increased popularity of cloud storage and its integration into popular smart devices has brought a list of legal and technological issues to the forefront. Among these issues is the issue of data security and ownership. While many assume that the data they save to the cloud belongs to them, this may not always be true. Depending on the service agreement, the provider of the cloud service may have an ownership interest or a license in the hosted data.

Intellectual Property (IP) in the Cloud

Experts warn that users of cloud storage and computing should refrain from making overarching assumptions regarding the ownership or use of the cloud. A business owner that uses cloud computing or storage needs legal agreements regarding the same that should be carefully negotiated or drafted to explicitly state where ownership of the data lies and what should happen to the data upon termination of the contract or relationship.

For the service provider, provisions regarding warranties, limitations on liability, and indemnifications are key to affording legal protection to the service provider. Likewise, provisions that address what should happen if the servers go down, are breached, or otherwise compromised are other integral provisions that should be included.

Data Protection

We draft agreements that address the complex issues related to cloud computing and data protection. From ensuring that service providers are in compliance with government standards to recommending cost effective approaches for protection, we provide advice on what pitfalls to avoid and what legal concerns to acknowledge when using cloud computing or storage.

As a technology and data law firm, our technology and data lawyers can assist with advising on cloud-related legal issues.  See our Technology & Data service line page for additional information about cloud-related legal services.