Collaboration key to privacy in cloud: Minister for Privacy and Freedom of Information

'Serious' privacy issues yet to be addressed

Collaboration that reaches across Australian borders is vital if the risks of cloud computing are to be reduced, the Minister for Privacy and Freedom of Information has said.

Addressing iapp’s privacy umbrella of cloud computing conference in Sydney, Brendan O’Connor said the uptake of cloud computing in the enterprise will only increase.

“By 2013, 85 per cent of companies are likely to access their company services through cloud computing,” he said. “...From a cost and resource perspective, there is no need to invest in large infrastructure.”

While the enterprise uptake of cloud computing is set to increase, O’Connor said a number of issues must be dealt with before widespread adoption takes place in Australia.

“The sky may be the limit in cloud computing but there are some serious issues and challenges that we need to work through,” he said.

“Given the benefits of cloud computing, there’s an imperative for us to make this work...we see benefits and we just need to mitigate the risks.”

O’Connor said the universal nature of cloud technology will result in government collaboration on an international scale.

“It is these sorts of collaborative efforts between government and organisations that will create the tools to protect us all,” he said. “Cloud based defences must be rigorous and robust.

“We have a strong and productive relationship with other governments...and with them we will continue this multi-faceted and complex conversation.”

O’Connor, who officially launched The Office of the Australian Information Commissioner (OAIC) earlier this month, said cyber criminals are often one step ahead of government agencies when it came to breaching cloud computing security.

“Organised crime already operates in this world...we know that cyber criminals are very innovative, and some would argue they are more innovative than law enforcement agencies,” he said.

“Cyber attacks are getting more sophisticated...most victims only realise they are under attack when it’s too late, when they realise that corporate secrets are already being taken.”

While O’Connor said privacy laws are being reviewed so that “a robust privacy framework” is developed, he said the IT industry had a role to play in commenting on any regulation changes.

“We want private individuals, [and] private organisations to give us feedback to make sure this area develops so we can remove risks as much as we possibly can,” he said.

O'Connor's insights come as the Australian Privacy Commissioner also addressed the conference, saying that cloud computing can enhance the privacy of Australian enterprises.

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Tags cloud computingSenator Brendan O’ConnorPrivacy and freedom of information

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