Cloud computing is quite possibly the hottest, most discussed and often misunderstood topic in IT today. This revolutionary concept has reached unexpected heights in the last decade and is recognized by governments and private-sector organizations as major game-changing technology.

It's big, if the numbers pan out. According to analyst firm Gartner (2013), the marketplace for cloud computing will grow 18.5 % to USD 131 billion in 2017 from USD 111 billion in 2012. What’s more, 2016 will be a defining year for cloud, as the cutting-edge technology will just get more sophisticated in the next few years.

In the January/February 2015 ISOfocus issue, we address some of the basic questions surrounding cloud computing (including the savings and business utility the technology can offer). We also explore security concerns of the cloud services industry and how these are addressed by ISO/IEC 27018, the first International Standard on safeguarding personal data in the cloud.

In a nutshell, ISO/IEC 27018 provides a practical basis to induce confidence in cloud-based services. At the same time, the public cloud industry will have clear guidance on how to meet some of the legal and regulatory concerns of its clients. The new standard should finally give cloud users faith that their service provider is well-placed to keep their data private and secure.  

So the next time you post your personal photos on the cloud, tell yourselves this: standards are only good in as far as they are used. No ISO/IEC 27018, no deal!