Cloud security computingWeb consumers are becoming more comfortable shopping and conducting business transactions online. However, that is not to say there is not a healthy skepticism among the wary and the power-users alike.

Consumers routinely list privacy and security as their primary concerns with regard to e-commerce. Likewise, businesses are well served by finding ways to assure customers that their security is sound. If you rely on cloud services, cloud security is of particular interest among consumers and regulators alike. The industry to date has been mostly self-regulated; leaving the federal agencies such as the Federal Trade Commission frustrated with their inability to regulate e-commerce. Nevertheless, expect to see a significant change in web privacy and security in the near future.

Web Consumers and Security

It is not surprising that consumers are skeptical of cloud security. Namely, the concept of cloud computing is ambiguous and difficult to understand for the lay person; which makes it scary. The media tends to sensationalize web attacks which expose private data. Whereas this type of fear-mongering is inevitable, there are ways to assure your customers that you have them covered through cloud security.

  • Draft an easier to understand terms of use (TOU). As consumers become more comfortable with technology, they are actually reading these click-through agreements. If you attempt to baffle them with legal nonsense, be assured you will lose their trust.
  • Make user preferences easy to change. Here, we are really talking about email frequency. It goes without saying that consumers distrust companies that spam them based on their purchasing decisions. Although there is a connection between these types of campaigns and repeat sales; make it easy for your customers to say “no, thank you.”
  • Add security. Captcha, security images, and click-pad passwords may seem like annoying extra steps for the customer, but they do result in a higher degree of trust with regard to security.

Looming Privacy Legislation

Congress has learned form its mistakes with SOPA, the widely boycotted web piracy legislation that crashed and burned early in 2012. Thus, legislators are partnering with industry leaders to develop security and privacy bills which cover the governments interest in protecting the people, while allowing the industry the autonomy which enables economic growth.

So how does this effect our cloud initiatives? Cloud security and privacy is likely to be a hot button with both the government and the industry. Expect to see tighter regulation on what happens to data when it is on the cloud. The government is interested in transparency; data brokers in particular have been targeted. This means longer and more complex legal agreements with cloud service providers outlining where data is stored and who has access to it.

Don’t be surprised if your cloud security plan becomes subject to audit. Regardless of how legal battles play out in Washington, nailing down your cloud security is simply a best practice for your business; and cheaper than getting hit with litigation.