AppDirect raises $9M, acquires Standing Cloud to help businesses adopt a hybrid network in the NSA's wake
Over the last three months the Washington Post, New York Times, and the Guardian have revealed government programs through which the National Security Agency is able to collect data from Web companies, undermine encryption and privacy tools, and view Verizon customers' phone records.
The revelations have led to questions concerning the safety of many US-based technology services, with some suggesting that consumers should boycott or avoid companies based in the country, whether they've been implicated in the leaks or not. (Many companies are unable to reveal government requests.)
It is against that backdrop that AppDirect, a "cloud service marketplace and management platform" said to reach 12 million businesses across 80 countries, is today announcing that it has raised a $9 million funding round and acquired Standing Cloud.
The acquisition will allow AppDirect to better serve businesses seeking to use a privately-hosted cloud infrastructure instead of relying on public clouds. Daniel Saks, the company's chief executive, says that this capability will become increasingly important as businesses adopt hybrid infrastructures which rely on both privately-and publicly-hosted networks.
"People are certainly more afraid of the cloud for certain things but are embracing it for others," Saks says. "Our response to that is, let's give customers options."
US-based cloud networks have advantages over private networks, Saks says -- namely that they can be more reliable and easier to scale. Privately-hosted networks, meanwhile, are often seen as more secure and less likely to be tampered with by the US government. Hybrid solutions are meant to offer the best of both set-ups.
"Businesses need to make the choice that their data is confidential and that it needs added security," Saks says. They can use a private network to host that data, he says; for other information and services they can use public networks.
That approach is riddled with potentially -- or perhaps probably -- faulty assumptions, of course. Most of us are unaware of the NSA and other government agencies' ability to gather information from anything connected to the Internet, whether it's a smartphone or a privately-hosted network.
Relying on a private network to keep data secure is like hoping that encryption will protect your communications or that a blanket will ward off nightmarish creatures in the middle of the night: it might make some businesses and citizens feel better, but it's unlikely to make much of a difference in practice.
[Illustration by Hallie Bateman for Pandodaily]