Canada: Cloud Computing And Canadian Federally Regulated Financial Institutions

Cloud Computing

Cloud computing has grown significantly in the last few years. A Gartner Executive Program survey of more than 2,000 Chief Information Officers (CIOs), representing 50 countries and 38 industries, found that cloud computing is the number one technology priority for 2011. Fully 43% of the CIOs expected that a majority of their IT will be running "in the cloud" within four years.1 In its updated June 2011 forecast of Information Technology spending, Gartner stated that cloud computing expenditures are likely to rise by 16-20% per year through 2015, representing 4% of global IT spending by the end of that period. Richard Gordon, research vice president at Gartner, noted that expenditures for cloud computing services grew four times faster than overall IT spending.2

What is Cloud Computing?

The term "cloud computing" has been used to refer to almost anything from the ability to access virtual servers over the Internet to the consumption of any information technology service situated outside an organization's infrastructure. The more precise technical meaning, however, is expressed in the following draft definition published by the U.S. Government's National Institute of Standards and Technology:

[A] model for enabling ubiquitous, convenient, on-demand network access to a shared pool of configurable computing resources (e.g., networks, servers, storage, applications, and services) that can be rapidly provisioned and released with minimal management effort or service provider interaction.3

As this suggests, the key feature of cloud computing is the ability to access a remote, shared IT infrastructure on an as-needed basis.

Benefits of Cloud Computing

There are many benefits of cloud computing, including that organizations that use cloud computing are not required to maintain their own localized infrastructures to support the services; rather, they pay for the use of technology resources only when and to the extent that they actually need them. As a result, users can avoid the expense of setting up and looking after in-house infrastructure. Among other things, this allows organizations to replace up-front capital expenditures with a more fluid operational expenditure that more closely tracks actual business activity. Further, because cloud computing services are available to multiple users leveraging the same infrastructure, the cloud service provider is typically able to achieve significant economies of scale, producing additional savings for its customers.

Federally Regulated Entities under OSFI Guideline B-10

Guideline B-10 of the Office of the Superintendent of Financial Institutions (Canada) (OSFI) governs cloud computing arrangements (and other outsourcing agreements) entered into by Federally Regulated Entities (FREs).4 For the purposes of the Guideline, the term "FRE" encompasses all Canadian banks, insurance companies, fraternal benefit societies, trust and loan companies and cooperative credit associations and Canadian branches of foreign banks and insurance companies.

Guideline B-10 imposes overall accountability and control requirements, and requires an assessment of the materiality of an outsourcing arrangement and the implementation of a risk management program (the scope and nature of which will vary depending on the materiality of the outsourcing arrangement in question).

B-10 and Cloud Computing

Many of the issues that cloud computing raises for FREs are not unique to cloud computing; they exist in the context of any outsourcing. Nevertheless, cloud computing involves a host of inherent risks, including the use of shared resources; the use of multiple dynamic data transfer routes (to minimize bandwidth usage); dependency on a commoditized, non-customized, volume-based solution; and the use of infrastructure scattered over multiple locations (often in low-cost centres with minimal legislative data protection obligations). The significance of the issues involved in cloud computing will largely depend on the materiality and nature of the services obtained. It would be prudent for FREs to consider the following issues in connection with the development of their cloud computing strategies:

1 Data commingling and segregation

The use of shared virtual infrastructure may create data commingling and segregation issues. B-10 requires service providers to be capable of isolating an FRE's data, records and items in process from those of other customers at all times. As a precondition of entering into a cloud computing arrangement which is subject to B-10, an FRE must therefore determine whether the cloud service provider can offer the service in a manner that permits proper data segregation.

2 Accessibility of confidential information

The nature of cloud computing - including the ability for multiple entities to access shared resources and the use of multiple locations across low cost regions - can create data security and privacy issues. B-10 requires the FRE to ensure that security and confidentiality policies of the cloud computing service provider are commensurate with those of the FRE, which should ensure that all necessary protections are in place to secure the confidentiality of the data provided to the cloud infrastructure. In particular, contractual provisions should clearly define who has responsibility for protection mechanisms, the information that is covered by such protections, the ability of either party to modify security procedures and requirements and notification obligations of the cloud service provider should any confidentiality or security breach occur.

3 Business continuity

The FRE's business continuity plans must address all reasonably foreseeable situations in which a cloud service provider may be unable to continue to provide services at the required levels. Most importantly, in the context of any business interruption affecting the cloud service provider, the FRE should ensure that it has access to all necessary records to allow it to continue its business operations and meet any statutory obligations or other obligations to OSFI.

4 Data location

A cloud service provider's infrastructure and software may be dispersed across multiple locations across the globe. This may be problematic for FREs since B-10 requires the contract governing the provision of the cloud services to identify the nature and scope of the services, including specification of the physical location where the services are being provided. While this may be possible at the outset of a cloud computing arrangement, the dynamic nature of cloud computing means that regular updates should be contemplated under the contract in order to address any shift in the location of the information technology infrastructure supporting the services. In addition, contractual provisions to address any deficiencies in legislated privacy protections and issues relating to access rights of foreign governments and their regulatory agencies should be considered.

5 Subcontractors

Many cloud service providers enter into subcontracts for additional virtual technology infrastructure on an as-needed basis. FREs need to ensure that subcontracting limitations are imposed to ensure that all such subcontractors are subject to the same security, confidentiality and audit obligations as the cloud service provider.

6 Monitoring cloud arrangements

The nature of cloud computing can make monitoring and auditing the arrangements difficult. B-10 requires that the FRE be able to monitor the services to ensure that they are being delivered in accordance with the FRE's requirements. The FRE must be capable of evaluating the cloud service provider from time to time, including its internal controls (which may be satisfied through the provision of a SAS70 or analogous control report). The FRE must carefully consider how best to ensure that the necessary monitoring can occur, based on the service model and geographic territory of the services being provided, as well as on the level of monitoring required (given the risks presented by the cloud computing arrangements in question).

7 e-Discovery

While not specific to FREs, some thought should be given to the growing need to facilitate e-discovery (the production of electronic data and information required in the "discovery" process that occurs when a lawsuit is initiated). The use of cloud computing could lead to delays and costly efforts to produce relevant materials due to data commingling or data dispersion across locations and/or service providers.

Know the Challenges - Address the Risks

Virtually all organizations' IT business plans include at least some outsourcing of IT functions to third parties. Because cloud computing offers so many advantages, its adoption is, for many companies, a question of "when" rather than "if". Security and other challenges faced by FREs in the context of cloud computing are not unique to FREs, but are more pronounced due to the need to comply with B-10. While in certain contexts the challenges and compromises inherent in cloud computing may preclude its adoption by the FRE, in most cases cloud computing will work well, provided that the FRE carefully considers the relevant issues before entering into any agreements

Footnotes

1. KPMG - Cloud Computing: Is the perfect storm ahead of us?

2. http://www.gartner.com/DisplayDocument?doc_cd=214540&ref=g_noreg

3. http://csrc.nist.gov/publications/drafts/800-145/Draft-SP-800-145_cloud-definition.pdf

4. http://www.osfi-bsif.gc.ca/app/DocRepository/1/eng/guidelines/sound/guidelines/b10_e.pdf

The content of this article is intended to provide a general guide to the subject matter. Specialist advice should be sought about your specific circumstances.

To print this article, all you need is to be registered on Mondaq.com.

Click to Login as an existing user or Register so you can print this article.

Authors
Similar Articles
Relevancy Powered by MondaqAI
Collins Barrow National Incorporated
 
In association with
Related Topics
 
Similar Articles
Relevancy Powered by MondaqAI
Collins Barrow National Incorporated
Related Articles
 
Related Video
Up-coming Events Search
Tools
Print
Font Size:
Translation
Channels
Mondaq on Twitter
 
Register for Access and our Free Biweekly Alert for
This service is completely free. Access 250,000 archived articles from 100+ countries and get a personalised email twice a week covering developments (and yes, our lawyers like to think you’ve read our Disclaimer).
 
Email Address
Company Name
Password
Confirm Password
Position
Mondaq Topics -- Select your Interests
 Accounting
 Anti-trust
 Commercial
 Compliance
 Consumer
 Criminal
 Employment
 Energy
 Environment
 Family
 Finance
 Government
 Healthcare
 Immigration
 Insolvency
 Insurance
 International
 IP
 Law Performance
 Law Practice
 Litigation
 Media & IT
 Privacy
 Real Estate
 Strategy
 Tax
 Technology
 Transport
 Wealth Mgt
Regions
Africa
Asia
Asia Pacific
Australasia
Canada
Caribbean
Europe
European Union
Latin America
Middle East
U.K.
United States
Worldwide Updates
Registration (you must scroll down to set your data preferences)

Mondaq Ltd requires you to register and provide information that personally identifies you, including your content preferences, for three primary purposes (full details of Mondaq’s use of your personal data can be found in our Privacy and Cookies Notice):

  • To allow you to personalize the Mondaq websites you are visiting to show content ("Content") relevant to your interests.
  • To enable features such as password reminder, news alerts, email a colleague, and linking from Mondaq (and its affiliate sites) to your website.
  • To produce demographic feedback for our content providers ("Contributors") who contribute Content for free for your use.

Mondaq hopes that our registered users will support us in maintaining our free to view business model by consenting to our use of your personal data as described below.

Mondaq has a "free to view" business model. Our services are paid for by Contributors in exchange for Mondaq providing them with access to information about who accesses their content. Once personal data is transferred to our Contributors they become a data controller of this personal data. They use it to measure the response that their articles are receiving, as a form of market research. They may also use it to provide Mondaq users with information about their products and services.

Details of each Contributor to which your personal data will be transferred is clearly stated within the Content that you access. For full details of how this Contributor will use your personal data, you should review the Contributor’s own Privacy Notice.

Please indicate your preference below:

Yes, I am happy to support Mondaq in maintaining its free to view business model by agreeing to allow Mondaq to share my personal data with Contributors whose Content I access
No, I do not want Mondaq to share my personal data with Contributors

Also please let us know whether you are happy to receive communications promoting products and services offered by Mondaq:

Yes, I am happy to received promotional communications from Mondaq
No, please do not send me promotional communications from Mondaq
Terms & Conditions

Mondaq.com (the Website) is owned and managed by Mondaq Ltd (Mondaq). Mondaq grants you a non-exclusive, revocable licence to access the Website and associated services, such as the Mondaq News Alerts (Services), subject to and in consideration of your compliance with the following terms and conditions of use (Terms). Your use of the Website and/or Services constitutes your agreement to the Terms. Mondaq may terminate your use of the Website and Services if you are in breach of these Terms or if Mondaq decides to terminate the licence granted hereunder for any reason whatsoever.

Use of www.mondaq.com

To Use Mondaq.com you must be: eighteen (18) years old or over; legally capable of entering into binding contracts; and not in any way prohibited by the applicable law to enter into these Terms in the jurisdiction which you are currently located.

You may use the Website as an unregistered user, however, you are required to register as a user if you wish to read the full text of the Content or to receive the Services.

You may not modify, publish, transmit, transfer or sell, reproduce, create derivative works from, distribute, perform, link, display, or in any way exploit any of the Content, in whole or in part, except as expressly permitted in these Terms or with the prior written consent of Mondaq. You may not use electronic or other means to extract details or information from the Content. Nor shall you extract information about users or Contributors in order to offer them any services or products.

In your use of the Website and/or Services you shall: comply with all applicable laws, regulations, directives and legislations which apply to your Use of the Website and/or Services in whatever country you are physically located including without limitation any and all consumer law, export control laws and regulations; provide to us true, correct and accurate information and promptly inform us in the event that any information that you have provided to us changes or becomes inaccurate; notify Mondaq immediately of any circumstances where you have reason to believe that any Intellectual Property Rights or any other rights of any third party may have been infringed; co-operate with reasonable security or other checks or requests for information made by Mondaq from time to time; and at all times be fully liable for the breach of any of these Terms by a third party using your login details to access the Website and/or Services

however, you shall not: do anything likely to impair, interfere with or damage or cause harm or distress to any persons, or the network; do anything that will infringe any Intellectual Property Rights or other rights of Mondaq or any third party; or use the Website, Services and/or Content otherwise than in accordance with these Terms; use any trade marks or service marks of Mondaq or the Contributors, or do anything which may be seen to take unfair advantage of the reputation and goodwill of Mondaq or the Contributors, or the Website, Services and/or Content.

Mondaq reserves the right, in its sole discretion, to take any action that it deems necessary and appropriate in the event it considers that there is a breach or threatened breach of the Terms.

Mondaq’s Rights and Obligations

Unless otherwise expressly set out to the contrary, nothing in these Terms shall serve to transfer from Mondaq to you, any Intellectual Property Rights owned by and/or licensed to Mondaq and all rights, title and interest in and to such Intellectual Property Rights will remain exclusively with Mondaq and/or its licensors.

Mondaq shall use its reasonable endeavours to make the Website and Services available to you at all times, but we cannot guarantee an uninterrupted and fault free service.

Mondaq reserves the right to make changes to the services and/or the Website or part thereof, from time to time, and we may add, remove, modify and/or vary any elements of features and functionalities of the Website or the services.

Mondaq also reserves the right from time to time to monitor your Use of the Website and/or services.

Disclaimer

The Content is general information only. It is not intended to constitute legal advice or seek to be the complete and comprehensive statement of the law, nor is it intended to address your specific requirements or provide advice on which reliance should be placed. Mondaq and/or its Contributors and other suppliers make no representations about the suitability of the information contained in the Content for any purpose. All Content provided "as is" without warranty of any kind. Mondaq and/or its Contributors and other suppliers hereby exclude and disclaim all representations, warranties or guarantees with regard to the Content, including all implied warranties and conditions of merchantability, fitness for a particular purpose, title and non-infringement. To the maximum extent permitted by law, Mondaq expressly excludes all representations, warranties, obligations, and liabilities arising out of or in connection with all Content. In no event shall Mondaq and/or its respective suppliers be liable for any special, indirect or consequential damages or any damages whatsoever resulting from loss of use, data or profits, whether in an action of contract, negligence or other tortious action, arising out of or in connection with the use of the Content or performance of Mondaq’s Services.

General

Mondaq may alter or amend these Terms by amending them on the Website. By continuing to Use the Services and/or the Website after such amendment, you will be deemed to have accepted any amendment to these Terms.

These Terms shall be governed by and construed in accordance with the laws of England and Wales and you irrevocably submit to the exclusive jurisdiction of the courts of England and Wales to settle any dispute which may arise out of or in connection with these Terms. If you live outside the United Kingdom, English law shall apply only to the extent that English law shall not deprive you of any legal protection accorded in accordance with the law of the place where you are habitually resident ("Local Law"). In the event English law deprives you of any legal protection which is accorded to you under Local Law, then these terms shall be governed by Local Law and any dispute or claim arising out of or in connection with these Terms shall be subject to the non-exclusive jurisdiction of the courts where you are habitually resident.

You may print and keep a copy of these Terms, which form the entire agreement between you and Mondaq and supersede any other communications or advertising in respect of the Service and/or the Website.

No delay in exercising or non-exercise by you and/or Mondaq of any of its rights under or in connection with these Terms shall operate as a waiver or release of each of your or Mondaq’s right. Rather, any such waiver or release must be specifically granted in writing signed by the party granting it.

If any part of these Terms is held unenforceable, that part shall be enforced to the maximum extent permissible so as to give effect to the intent of the parties, and the Terms shall continue in full force and effect.

Mondaq shall not incur any liability to you on account of any loss or damage resulting from any delay or failure to perform all or any part of these Terms if such delay or failure is caused, in whole or in part, by events, occurrences, or causes beyond the control of Mondaq. Such events, occurrences or causes will include, without limitation, acts of God, strikes, lockouts, server and network failure, riots, acts of war, earthquakes, fire and explosions.

By clicking Register you state you have read and agree to our Terms and Conditions