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Guidance on using cloud or hosted IT services

News publication date: 
Thursday, 04 August 2016
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Are you interested in using cloud or hosted IT services, or are you already using one of these services? There are lots of different providers offering these services, all with different terms and conditions which may not be acceptable to the University. You need to be clear about the implications with regard to data protection and information security before ticking a box to accept a provider’s terms and conditions.

The Cloud Services Toolkit has been prepared to assist members of the University when assessing the suitability of a service for processing and storing data controlled by the University. It includes detailed guidance together with particular aids relating to data protection and information security. 

Please refer to the full guidance before entering into any agreement for cloud services; examples of some key points you will need to consider include:

  • Check if there are existing solutions that meet your requirements: the University, your department or college may have an existing service or may have already negotiated an agreement with preferred providers. Your department or college IT manager may be able to advise, or the IT Services Service Desk.
  • Understand the terms and conditions: Be aware that if you sign-up to a cloud service in your role as a member of University staff, including with your University email address, for example, you may be binding the University, not just yourself, to the cloud service's contractual terms. The University permits only certain officers to sign contracts on behalf of the University (Statute XVI). If in doubt, consult with University Purchasing or Legal Services.
  • Assess your data: Is it personal? Confidential? Valuable? You may have legal obligations or responsibilities as an employee of the University to control and keep safe data in your possession. If in doubt, seek advice from the person responsible for information security in your department or college, or from the University's Legal Services.

The toolkit was created by the Cloud Services Standards and Legal Working Group, which included members from Legal Services, Purchasing, IT Services and OUP, and is intended to be applicable to the University, its constituent units, and its members (whether staff or student).

For more information about the Cloud Services Toolkit, please contact cloud-support@it.ox.ac.uk.

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