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Public organizations have opened their eyes to the many possibilities of using cloud solutions as an alternative to traditional IT solutions. We see many advantages in using the cloud to store personal data. However, the Danish Data Protection Agency's rules and practices for the Personal Data Act often place restrictions on cloud solutions and place high demands on data management. Therefore, keeping track of the rules can be complicated and confusing.
First of all, let's establish what separates cloud and on-premise. The primary difference between cloud and on-premise is where the data is stored. A cloud solution is hosted on a selected vendor's server and accessed via a web browser. With on-premise, the data is located locally and resides on your organization's computers and servers. Therefore, everything is done and handled internally in the organization - both maintenance, security, updates etc. All processes must be manageable internally, as you take full ownership as soon as the data comes in from a user. This may sound like a big task, why a cloud solution seems more manageable.
However, a cloud solution is not just a cloud solution. There are several different types. Here is an overview of the two most popular cloud solutions available.
Private cloud: This is the solution where you have your very own server in the cloud - in other words, you do not share it with other organizations. Thus, you also have to be responsible for administration and maintenance, but at the same time, you get excellent security as other organizations can not access your data. The solution also provides great self-control in relation to setup and configuration as well as the possibility of individual customization.
Public cloud: With this solution, the server is shared with other companies and organizations that have data placed together with your data. No maintenance is required, and updates happen automatically. However, the solution has a smaller degree of self-control and individual adaptation than a private cloud, as several organizations share the same cloud.
Let's go a step further and look at some of the benefits and challenges of cloud and on-premise.
As a starting point, the cloud offers many options when it comes to scalability and flexibility. You get rid of much of the work and administration that comes with an on-premise solution by having data in the cloud. This also applies to data security, back-up and encryption of data. In other words, you must consider whether you believe that your data is best protected by yourself or by an external cloud provider.
Which solution is best suited is ultimately a question of what IT strategy has been put in place concerning data storage and security upgrades. We often find that organizations and public institutions choose an on-premise solution because it is the most GDPR-compliant since they want full data management control. However, you may not have the necessary resources internally. It may be safer to use a private or public cloud solution with security competencies and ensure that the system is updated continuously.