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The Snowden Effect – NSA PRISM Negatively Impacts Public Cloud Providers

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Global IT leaders are increasingly concerned about where and how their data is stored, and the cloud services they’re implementing, according to a new survey from NTT Communications.

This so-called ‘Snowden Effect’ has started to shift perceptions of IT professionals around the world. More than half of respondents said that more attention is being paid to the region where data is stored, and just under half are carrying out more due diligence on cloud projects. Around 35 percent said they have changed their procurement policies for cloud providers since Snowden’s revelations, with 62 percent stating that the PRISM news has stopped them from moving their information and communications technology into the cloud.

In fact, the Information Technology Industry Council (ITI) believes that eroding trust in public cloud, due to the furor over the NSA surveillance programs, could lead to lost income in the tens of billions of dollars for U.S. cloud providers.

While some IT organizations, even pre-NSA Prism, didn’t trust public cloud solutions with their sensitive data and chose private cloud providers instead, many organizations had begun putting their corporate information into the hands of the very providers who were enabling the NSA’s data collection policies. The ensuing revelations about the kinds of data that were collected, and for how long, has put security at the forefront of conversations about how to best share and store data.

Individuals and organizations alike have been floored by the sheer size of the data collection occurring under the NSA PRISM program, and the number of organizations participating. Google, Facebook, Microsoft, and Yahoo! were all called out by name as companies whose servers have been tapped, or would soon be tapped, by the NSA and FBI.

This is a perfect example of the kind of control you give up by utilizing a public-cloud solution. Whether it’s automated email scanning from Google, or the fact that cloud storage services such as Box and Dropbox own the encryption keys to customers’ data, by using a public cloud service provider, you’re losing control of your data. 

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