They say every cloud has a silver lining – you get some benefit out of every bad thing that happens to you. When you’re very happy, you’re on cloud nine! If you aren’t paying attention in class, your teacher might tell you to get your head out of the clouds. If the authorities think you did it, you would be under a cloud of suspicion. These days, when your workforce is located in three different countries and five different cities connected by the internet, you’re practicing cloud-based staffing and utilizing cloud computing.Wait, what?That’s right. Utilizing a virtual workforce through cloud computing is becoming increasingly popular, because it allows businesses to access talent outside of the local area, it shortens time to market, and it allows for flexibility by giving access to files and data when working remotely and/or outside office hours. If this cloudy terminology is new to you, here is a basic definition to get you up to speed:According to Wikipedia, “Cloud computing refers to the use and access of multiple server-based computational resources via a digital network (WAN, Internet connection using the World Wide Web, etc.). Cloud users may access the server resources using a computer, netbook, pad computer, smart phone, or other device. In cloud computing, applications are provided and managed by the cloud server and data is also stored remotely in the cloud configuration. Users do not download and install applications on their own device or computer; all processing and storage is maintained by the cloud server. The online services may be offered from a cloud provider or by a private organization.”Cloud computing is what makes a successful virtual workforce, or “staff in the cloud” possible. Flexibility is a huge benefit of cloud computing, as is its ease of use. Cloud computing is often cheaper and less labor intensive because it’s online – and therefore the need for massive amounts of server space for storage is removed altogether (you’ll probably just see a slight increase in your monthly fee for more data storage). We could continue discussing the benefits of cloud computing; however, the point is it’s here to stay, along with cloud staffing. So legally speaking, what does this mean for your business?When choosing a cloud-based service provider that will allow you to sustain a virtual workforce there are many important points to ponder. You will need to thoroughly review the provider’s Service Agreement or Terms of Service in order to find out the following before signing up:• Where is the actual data stored? (And we mean the geographic location of the company’s servers that house all of the data).• How many servers does the company have?• What security measures are in place to prevent hackers from accessing the data?• What notification procedures are used by the company to alert customers of a data breach?• Who has access to your data?• Are customers able to back-up the data stored on the cloud on their own servers?• How do you migrate the data from the cloud if you decide to cancel the service?If you take these questions into consideration and get solid satisfactory answers, you’re ready to hit the cloud!