"The Snowden effect," changing the course of cloud security

By Vineet Jain , written on September 11, 2013

From The News Desk

Dear Mr. Snowden,

Thank you for showing the world the importance of privacy and security. In your bold acts, you sir, have single handedly unveiled a major problem with the way we store and share files. More specifically, you have exposed one of the largest issues involved with trusting all of our valuable information to the cloud -- security.

IDC recently reported that the United States is the largest public IT cloud services market, with 56.9 percent of the worldwide market share in 2013. Since you released information about how the US government is tapping into our data, however, IDC now projects that the US will lose a portion of that market share and eventually own just 43.9 percent by 2017. By publicizing that the government has long been able to access our data, you have struck fear in the public’s eyes.

You, Edward, have shown the public that there is a need for more -- more protection, more privacy, and more control. While just over half (52 percent) of companies are storing any files in the cloud, they entrust only a small percentage of files to cloud storage (13 percent of all files, on average). There needs to be a place where their files can sit without being vulnerable to government surveillance. Users want a choice of what they can share, when they want to share it, and with whom they share it. And businesses need to ensure that all of their customers’ private files remain private.

I would also like to thank you, Mr. Snowden, for making businesses take action rather than just talk about it. Companies like Lincoln Financial, IKEA, and Bulova are now taking back control of their data, thereby making their IT departments relevant again. When their files cannot be trusted to live in a cloud-only environment, IT ensures that the security, location of data storage, data redundancy, etc. are bullet proof -- or PRISM proof, if you will.

Your actions have also resulted in a trickle down effect in terms of companies’ concerns about the actual physical location of their files as well, not just the type of environment they live in. European Union customers, such as Semperian and Sciforma, have always demanded storage of files in EU data centers to avoid US government interaction. Now, US customers such as Centigrade and AKQA have chosen to send their files to EU data centers as well. AKQA, an advertising company with customers in the US and Europe, has demanded certain data sets be stored in data centers within the EU and not in the USA directly as a result of what the Executive Director of IT calls, “The Snowden Effect.”

In closing, I would just like to extend my gratitude for changing the course of our future and etching yourself into our history books. Your name will be brought up every time we think of online privacy and security, and rightfully so. As the next wave of technology comes into our lives and we begin a new era of SaaS, we will be more cognizant of our choices when developing and implementing software solutions. Security will actually matter again, and people will hold value to the privacy of their information, all because of you…

So thank you, Mr. Edward Snowden!

[Image Credit: Times of India]