NSA Scandal Spells Trouble for Cloud Services

Channelnomics asked noted cloud expert David Linthicum his thoughts on the emerging government espionage scandal and got his advice for partners navigating the cloud space in a time of heightened fear, uncertainty and doubt.

  • Tweet  
  • LinkedIn  
  • Facebook  
  • Google plus  
  • Send to Kindle
  • Send to  

[caption id="attachment_29064" align="alignright" width="300"]Cloud Technology Partners SVP Dave Linthicum Cloud Technology Partners SVP Dave Linthicum[/caption]

Lost in the outcry and public hand-wringing over the NSA data-snooping affair is the impact the PRISM scandal will have on those that sell cloud computing services for a living. Any solution provider with a serious cloud practice knows  much of the battle involves getting new clients past their misgivings about the security and integrity of their data once it’s consigned to far-away servers and accessible over the Internet.

Related articles

The added wrinkle from the revelation that the US government is rooting around in data with little probable cause -- ostensibly to ferret out illegal activity -- could make an already skittish client base downright reluctant to even engage in the cloud computing conversation. Noted cloud expert and author David Linthicum, senior vice president at Cloud Technology Partners Inc. in Boston says the NSA affair “will provide more fuel for the already cloud-paranoid.”

Channelnomics got with Linthicum to hear his thoughts on the emerging government espionage scandal and to get his advice for partners navigating the cloud space in a time of heightened fear, uncertainty and doubt.

CN: How big a deal is the NSA spying controversy to partners dealing in cloud services?

DL: It’s a PR issue, really. Some of the FUD around the use of pubic cloud computing has been that the government can monitor or even seize your public cloud hosted data much easier than if it is in your own data center. With the NSA spying controversy, they may actually have a point.

If the government can monitor message traffic on Verizon, it’s not much of a stretch that they can also monitor data flowing in and out of public clouds. Although it clearly was not the government’s intention to cause this problem, it’s an outcome of their actions.

CN: What are the biggest, most legitimate concerns raised by the NSA issue relative to the cloud?

DL: That there can be “secret court orders” that allow the government to peek into data communications traffic without the owners of that data knowing that it’s occurring. While most of us understand that it’s a possibility, we did not have the verification that it was occurring at such a scale.

CN: Where is the NSA controversy likely to have the biggest impact on cloud?

DL: I think that the Finance vertical will be most impacted, considering that they are the most paranoid and can afford not to go to the cloud. The health care vertical, which is also paranoid, will find this as a good excuse not to move quickly to public cloud providers, perhaps pushing back on existing plans. Not sure manufacturing or retail cares if the government is watching our not, generally speaking.

Larger companies will be most aware of the impact of the NSA controversy, since they can afford not to leverage public cloud providers.  Smaller businesses with limited IT budgets will be the most impacted since using public cloud providers is a necessity.

CN: What can partners do by way of damage control to head off the market reluctance to engage cloud providers that this is sure to create?

DL: I would remind them that their data is just as vulnerable behind their firewalls as in the public clouds. If the government wants to see it, they will figure out a way to see it, and do so within the confines of the law. Moreover, that it’s the objective of the government to find patterns in data, and not the data itself, typically.

CN: What are you telling your customers who ask if they can still trust the cloud in the wake of the NSA matter?

DL: We tell them that you have to look at the track record of the public cloud, and thus far it’s been exceptional.   While there are indeed a few outages from time-to-time, for the most part public cloud providers have done a good job providing services, and protecting the data and the systems they host. The record is much better than systems in enterprise data centers.

Cloud Technology Partners SVP David Linthicum is an expert in complex distributed systems, including cloud computing, data integration, service oriented architecture, and Big Data systems. His latest book is “Cloud Computing and SOA Convergence in Your Enterprise, a Step-by-Step Approach.”

  • Tweet  
  • LinkedIn  
  • Facebook  
  • Google plus  
  • Send to Kindle
  • Send to  
More on Channel Business
wires

HP to focus on wired, wireless to take market share from Cisco

Meg Whitman says there is opportunity to capture Cisco-dominated market

failure2

If at first, you don’t succeed...

The road to success is paved with obstacles, potholes and yes, failure. The secret is to learn from our mistakes and keep walking

Cloud jigsaw

Cloud repatriation the future of IT - Dell

Blog says trend is significant for the present and future

light-through-cloud

Economic cloud has silver lining

Solution providers need not cave to the doom and gloom of economic forecasts; they should make a plan and forge ahead instead

Visitor comments
Add comments
blog comments powered by Disqus
In-depth
Web design

Your just-right website: Art, Science and a little je ne sais quoi

Follow these rules for an online presence that’s visually appealing, content-rich and easy to navigate

richard-hutton-samsung

Vendor Q&A Series: Richard Hutton, Samsung

The latest channel exec to sit in the Channelnomics hotseat is Samsung's director of channel marketing for the Enterprise Business Division of Samsung Electronics America

failure2

If at first, you don’t succeed...

The road to success is paved with obstacles, potholes and yes, failure. The secret is to learn from our mistakes and keep walking

isolated-ignored-business

Vendor agenda: Resellers may find themselves out of the loop when vendors merge

In part two of our two-part series, this month we take a look at what resellers can expect to face when their vendor is involved in an M&A