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What Snowden’s NSA Leak Really Means for Cloud’s Future


Mar, 14

What Snowden’s NSA Leak Really Means for Cloud’s Future

It was last June that the Edward Snowden story first broke, giving international attention to the National Security Administration’s (NSA’s) unauthorized surveillance (read: spying) of Internet data. Reactions to the story were polarized, with some touting him as a hero and others as a traitor. In the business world, several analysts predicted the incident would have far-reaching negative implications for the future of the cloud. Some suggested foreign cloud businesses would withdraw from U.S. cloud providers, resulting in a 20% decline in cloud revenue. A Cloud Security Alliance survey in August of last year made an even bigger claim, stating that the leak would “cost U.S. cloud suppliers $35 billion by 2016.

Put simply, I didn’t believe those statements then (see “Will The NSA’s PRISM Scandal Put Your Cloud Sales On Hold?” June 14, 2013 blog entry and Think Identity Theft Is Greater in the Cloud? Think Again. July 22, 2013 blog entry), and I don’t believe them now.

Most businesses understand that boycotting the cloud in hopes of teaching the NSA a lesson — or somehow eliminating the problem — doesn’t solve the problem. A recent article published by Christopher Tozzi @ the VAR Guy proposed two reasons we won’t likely see cloud sales dropping any time soon:

1. “The potential of NSA spying is not very significant, since the cloud would hardly be secure even if the NSA didn’t exist” and adding “many enterprises either are not aware or don’t care.”

2. “The benefits of cloud adoption simply outweigh the security concerns, in the assessment of enterprises.”

The optimist in me would like to believe the second reason is what’s driving cloud adoption forward, but it’s hard to deny the truthful ring of Tozzi’s first point, too. Regardless of the real reason(s) that the cloud has shown no negative impact from the NSA PRISM scandal, here’s something to seriously consider: If you’re still holding onto the possibility of the cloud being a fad that will go away and cause your customers to bring all IT back on-premise, now’s a good time to re-evaluate that position.

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