StatCan braces for digital-cloud rumbling
Statistics Canada is planning to move its information holdings to the digital cloud — a shift the national number-crunching agency acknowledges will prompt questions about the protection of sensitive data.
The initiative is part of the federal government’s “cloud-first strategy” to meet the increasing demand for online services and provide an alternative to its own, increasingly creaky computers.
Privately run cloud companies provide customers, such as federal departments, with virtual computer services — from email systems to vast storage capacity — using software, servers and other hardware hosted on the company’s premises.
Statistics Canada sees several benefits including affordable access to the latest technologies, additional processing power and storage, and more timely provision of data to the public and researchers.
But the statistics agency also realizes some rumbling could emerge from the cloud.
“The use of cloud technology will raise questions about data security and Statistics Canada’s ability to protect sensitive data,” say internal agency notes disclosed through the Access to Information Act. “Furthermore, Canadians will want to know what steps are being taken to ensure their information continues to be safe.
“The use of cloud technology may also raise questions about data sovereignty and the possible access to and use of data under the laws of another country.”