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Cloud computing 2014: Moving to a zero-trust security model

Jaikumar Vijayan | Jan. 2, 2014
Snowden leaks aren't driving companies away from the cloud but the disclosures have made them a lot more careful.

Vaultive, CipherCloud and the other vendors say they are seeing a marked increase in enterprise interest in their technologies due to the NSA surveillance disclosures.

The Snowden data leaks could also accelerate regionalization of cloud services.

Data residency requirements and fears of hosting data on U.S.-based servers and infrastructures could prompt non-U.S. customers especially to increasingly look to use cloud providers closer to home.

Enterprises in China and the Asia-Pacific region in particular appear to be more apprehensive about U.S. service providers and technology since the NSA disclosures, Stiennon said. Many are expected to start looking at regional and local options for hosting needs.

"I don't like to use the word Balkanization, but there is going to be a fragmentation of cloud service providers," Steinnon said. Hundreds of small public cloud providers have been springing up in different regions of the world over the past few years to serve local markets. Many will likely benefit from concerns about government snooping raised by the Snowden leaks, Stiennon predicted

Meanwhile, large U.S.-based cloud service providers are setting up service operations in different regions of the world in part to lower delivery costs and deliver better performance to local customers, said Gartner analyst Lawrence Pingree.

In December, for instance, Amazon announced that it plans to start delivering Amazon Web Services products in China starting 2014. The plan calls for the company to install cloud servers in China facilities to deliver hosted services to businesses in that country.

"A lot of cloud and SaaS providers are regionalizing" to improve agility and performance, Pingree said. The heightened attention on security issues will likely further speed the use of regional centers, he said

Increased transparency

Concerns stemming from the Snowden affair are also sure to force the government to be more transparent about data collection programs.

Google, Microsoft, Yahoo and an array of other high-technology vendors are now pressing the government to allow them to disclose details about secret requests for customer data by the NSA and other intelligence agencies. The companies argue that laws prohibiting them disclosing details of such requests have created false perceptions about their role in government data collection activities.

In an unprecedented move, the heads of Google, Apple, Facebook and Microsoft in December sent an open letter to President Obama demanding government surveillance reform and increased transparency.

Google, Microsoft and others plan to provide more details in their periodic Transparency Reports, and have indicated a willingness to legally challenge certain government requests for data.

Analysts note that even telecom companies, which have long been markedly slow to respond to questions about their data sharing habits with the government, may be coming around.


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