Tuesday, August 27, 2013

Public cloud marketshare may be redistributed due to Snowden Revelations

The revelations of Edward Snowden have had a direct impact on American public cloud service providers. According to a recently released survey by the cloud security alliance, 56% of the non US firms are rethinking their decision on the use of US based public clouds. According to Gartner, the public cloud business is a 131 billion dollar market, with a growth rate of 18.5%. American firms are in the lead, with the most market share.
Rivals in other countries are in the process of catching up and lobbying with their governments to create national standards and force companies to use in country clouds. These efforts have now received a direct boost. Data sovereignty concerns have always been a significant issue. Non US firms may shift to in country clouds and hosting providers, reducing the revenue to American firms and paring their lead. While the global public cloud market revenue may not be affected the confidence of businesses in public clouds has been jolted yet again.

About 90% of public cloud services are used to advertise, offload business processes, and purchase software as a service. Most companies unwittingly pass on sensitive data through cloud email, use of collaboration platforms for conferencing and file transfer services. While companies may continue to use some of these services to gain from their cost benefits, strict policies around the type of information that can be shared will need to be put in place.  Companies would shift their investments into private clouds, and exercise greater caution on the type of applications they source from cloud providers or host onto public infrastructure.
For years, we have all lived with the knowledge that our telephone conversations can be snooped upon by governments to provide an unfair advantage to local companies. A few countries are openly suspected of doing so. This has not stopped us from making calls, but most firms have put in place mechanisms to reduce the risk.  The same example is true for our use of email. Public cloud service should follow the same pattern.

Cyber citizens’ who use cloud services for social networking, email and other types of collaboration platforms have limited choices. These are to

1.    Lobby governments for more transparency. This option is suited for those individuals who use cloud services in their country of nationality.

2.    Believe that the government has better things to do than to snoop on them. This may be true for a vast majority of cyber citizens, but untrue for some of the sources they rely upon such as journalists and whistle blowers

3.    Restrict sensitive information communicated or stored online.

1 comment:

  1. Not sure why that would help? I can see why, given the blanket data gathering revealed in the US, people would feel insecure about storing data valuable to competitors there. Just not sure what countries there are whose *own* intelligence agencies aren't doing pretty much the same thing.