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Managing Electronic Records: Methods, Best Practices, and Technologies by Robert F. Williams, Robert F. Smallwood

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CHAPTER 12

Managing E–Records in the Cloud*

Cloud computing represents one of the most significant paradigm shifts in information technology (IT) in history. Sure, it is similar in concept to sharing an application–hosting provider, which has been around for a half–century and was common in highly regulated vertical industries, such as banks and health–care institutions. But it has evolved into a computing resource that is very different, with advances in IT architecture, improved hardware speeds, and lower storage costs as the computer industry continues to advance.

The “big idea” behind cloud computing is that it provides economies of scale by spreading costs across many client organizations by pooling computing resources and matching client computing needs to consumption, in a flexible, (nearly) real–time way. Cloud computing can be considered as a sort of utility that is vastly scalable and can be readily modulated, like the temperature control on a heater, or air conditioner. This approach has great potential, promising on–demand computing power, off–site backups, heavy security, and “innovations we cannot yet imagine.”1 It is a new animal for compliance, risk, and records managers, and policies specific to cloud use must be developed, enforced, and refined regularly to ensure information governance (IG) policy guidelines are met, and accurate business records are captured and preserved.

When executives hear of the potential cost savings and elimination of capital outlays ...

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