Privacy is an increasingly important element of a compliance program. Businesses are being held to a higher standard by their customers, who have increased interest in understanding how their data is treated from a privacy perspective.

An OpenStack deployment will likely need to demonstrate compliance with an organization’s Privacy Policy, with the U.S.-E.U. Safe Harbor framework, the ISO/IEC 29100:2011 privacy framework or with other privacy-specific guidelines. In the U.S. the AICPA has defined 10 privacy areas of focus, OpenStack deployments within a commercial environment may desire to attest to some or all of these principles.

To aid OpenStack architects in the protection of personal data, we recommend OpenStack architects review the NIST publication 800-122, titled “Guide to Protecting the Confidentiality of Personally Identifiable Information (PII).” This guide steps through the process of protecting:

“… any information about an individual maintained by an agency, including (1) any information that can be used to distinguish or trace an individual’s identity, such as name, social security number, date and place of birth, mother’s maiden name, or biometric records; and (2) any other information that is linked or linkable to an individual, such as medical, educational, financial, and employment information…”

Comprehensive privacy management requires significant preparation, thought and investment. Additional complications are introduced when building global OpenStack clouds, for example navigating the differences between U.S. and more restrictive E.U. privacy laws. In addition, extra care needs to be taken when dealing with sensitive PII that may include information such as credit card numbers or medical records. This sensitive data is not only subject to privacy laws but also regulatory and governmental regulations. By deferring to established best practices, including those published by governments, a holistic privacy management policy may be created and practiced for OpenStack deployments.