GDPR and Cloud Computing: A Complete Guide

Cloud environment has become the base of many companies these days as the technology advanced and give more advantage on the use of this system. However, it is important to note that GDPR and cloud computing should go hand in hand.

GDPR and cloud computing

How to Make Sure Cloud Computing Service Provider Comply with GDPR

As a company that uses cloud-based computing, you need to make sure that your services and any of the third parties service that you use comply with GDPR. Especially regarding breach that may expose the company to risk as stated in GDPR regulation.

You are allowed to use servers that is physically located beyond Europe to manage your data, but you need to make sure that they too comply with GDPR. So, you need to make sure if the country where the server is located has data adequacy regulation on that goes with GDPR and cloud computing regulation.

Furthermore, you need to review the data management used by your company. While you are allowed to store and collect personal data as long as you gain consent but GDPR also stated that you cannot collect data more than what is needed to complete the predefined purpose. 

Thus, you need to create a document that stated where the personal data is stored and what the data is used for as well as the timeline on how long you will keep the data. That way, you can use the document as guide when addressing SLAs with your cloud service provider. 

These agreements are necessary so you can make sure that the service offered by the cloud provider use process and operation which comply with GDPR guidelines.

GDPR and Cloud Computing Best Practice for Compliance

Actually, there is no specific guide on the method that you can use to implement GDPR regulation on the cloud computing that you use for compliance. However, there are a few best practices that you can follow such as:

  • Only using cloud service that is GDPR compliant

    It is important to make sure that the cloud provider that you use comply with GDPR especially on their infrastructure management. Major cloud provider companies already promise to comply with GDPR on most of the service that they provide so it should not become a challenge for you. 

    However, you still need to do research first before using any of those cloud providers to make sure that they do not have any issue regarding GDPR compliances before. That way, you can determine how well they comply with GDPR regulation.
  • Using data anonymization

    Although using data anonymization actually does not really guarantee that the sensitive data would not get exposed by unauthorized access, but applying anonymization on the data that you process, collect and store on cloud is one of the best methods that you can use to mitigate risk and help to comply with GDPR and cloud computing regulation.
  • Having lifecycle policy for the cloud data

    Most cloud provider has data management tool which can be used to delete the data stored automatically if it already reaches specific age. You need to use the tool to help you implementing storage limit principle which comply with GDPR regulation automatically without relying to data deletion manually.
  • Using cloud data encryption

    One best practice that you should always use is to apply encryption to database, storage buckets as well as other location that used to store data. This method can help to mitigate risk of sensitive data being exposed.

    You also need to apply the encryption to network connection which used to transfer the data. It is important to also minimize transferring data in the cloud environment as well as transferring data to external location outside the cloud environment.
  • Classifying and tagging cloud resources

    You need to use the labeling and tagging system that cloud provider have to help organize and classify the resources in cloud. Although not using tags is not an issue for compliance, but this method can be use to reduce the risk where you accidentally without knowing process or store sensitive data anywhere inside the cloud environment. This is the one that can create the real problem especially when you use cloud environment with shared use by multiple teams or users.
  • Implement access control on cloud

    It is important for you to use IAM that’s usually already implement by the cloud provider to implement access control to comply with GDPR and cloud computing. That way you can restrict service, application and user access on personal data that is stored in the cloud. 

    You should also remember to review the IAM configuration so you can detect any oversights that can cause unauthorized access. For example, IAM rule which allow anyone to view data which should not be accessible by public.

Best Practice for Compliance When Using Container

The above practices can be applied when you use any cloud-based environment. But there are still some considerations that you need to do when using container-based environment to make sure that it complies with GDPR such as:

  • Image scanning on container

    Doing image scanning on container will help to identify vulnerabilities, malware and any other risk that might exist inside the container image. So, when using containers, image scanning method is an important security control which you must implement to comply with GDPR.
  • Perform audit on the log

    Performing audit on the logging can help to detect any potential issues on the security inside the container environment. Some container service provider already implements this in their service so you should take advantage of it.

    Furthermore, performing audit on the logging can also be used as accountability to comply with GDPR and cloud computing. It is also considered as basic control on the security that expected to be implemented by all companies.
  • Manage data on container environment

    Managing sensitive data can be challenging especially when using container environment. On some case the data might first stored inside the container then it will be move to external location.

    Thus, it is important that you implement encryption on the personal data as it goes through various layers of infrastructure in the container environment. You also need to make sure to implement encryption and secure the network connection to transfer the data between containers as well as microservices. There are various tools that you can use to secure the network connection so it should not be hard to implement. 
  • Using RBAC tools to secure the containers

    While using IAM framework can be useful to enforce access control in the cloud environment but it still lacking a few things when used to secure containers environment. It is better to use RBAC tools or any other security context that you can use to specifically secure container environment. That way, you can make sure to comply with GDPR when using container environment. 

Things to Consider When Choosing Cloud Service Provider

Some of the best practice that you can use to secure the cloud environment should already be implemented by the cloud service provider. That way you will know that the cloud provider you use comply with GDPR and cloud computing. Here are some of the things that you need to consider when choosing cloud service provider:

  • See the encryption technologies implement by the cloud provider

    Encryption can be a method that you use to mitigate security risk especially for data that are stored, collect, process and transferred in cloud environment. Usually cloud provider already implement encryption as part of their security measures. 

    But it is still important to know which algorithm that they use and the method that they do to encrypt the data. Make sure that they use algorithm that already approve by industry standard such as AES-256. 
  • See if the cloud provider provides further control and security features

    Generally, there should be other steps that implement beyond encryption to secure the data on the cloud environment. Thus, you need to see if cloud provider provides further control and security features such as access control, logging audit etc. That way, you can see if the provider actually takes account security seriously. 
  • See how transparent the service provider about the data protection and residency

    GDPR requires that data should be process transparently which not applies to you as the controller but also the cloud service provider that you use. So, it is your duty to make sure that the service provider is transparent about the data protection and residency to comply with GDPR and cloud computing.
  • Ask legal guarantees on data protection from cloud provider

    You need to make sure that the cloud provider that you use can give binding document about the data protection. This is one of the documents that must be provided to comply with GDPR.
  • Making sure that the cloud provider actually enforced security practice

    You need to ask documents that can prove that the cloud provider actually enforced security practice. This can come from certification such as HIPAA, ISO, as well as GDPR compliance certification.


Cloud environment provided a lot of advantage to the company especially when processing data. However, it is also important to make sure that the cloud environment used comply with GDPR regulation.

If you are using cloud provider, then there are a few things that you can implement to mitigate security risk and help to comply with GDPR. That way GDPR and cloud computing can go hand in hand.

Description: Learn how to ensure compliance with GDPR regulations when using cloud computing services. This guide covers topics such as data protection, security, and vendor management.

Tags: GDPR and cloud computing, GDPR and cloud computing best practice, comply GDPR and cloud computing, GDPR and cloud computing tips, GDPR and cloud computing container

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