WikiLeaks exposes vulnerability of cloud computing

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WikiLeaks exposes vulnerability of cloud computing
This article first appeared on Best in UC. We recently ran across a post from Guardian.co.UK’s technology editor, Charles Arthur that exposed the limitations of the cloud as evidenced by the WikiLeaks scandal. Here’s an excerpt from Arthur’s article:
Until last week, any computing futurologist would tell you that cloud computing is where it’s at…Last week though the premise behind cloud computing began looking a bit creaky. Amazon dropped the contents of WikiLeaks that had been hosted on its EC2 service…WikiLeaks was “not following” its terms of service…The reality is that anyone who manages to get under the skin of governments as effectively as Julian Assange and the WikiLeaks team have done will test the limits of government, and hence commercial tolerance.
Now, whether you’re singing the cloud’s praises or not, you can’t argue with Arthur’s points. Indeed, the number one reason many cloud naysayers are skeptical about migrating from their traditional data center to the cloud is security. And with several WikiLeaks copycats just announced (BalkanLeaks, BrusselLeaks, and IndoLeaks), we can’t chalk this up as an anomaly. It’s true that any time your data is in the public cloud you do run the risk of a similar fate. On the one hand, security breaches like this fuel the fears of companies holding out on the cloud because of its lack of security.  And, from the perspective of an entity that has information the government finds objectionable, you can be ostracized—when you accept the terms of the cloud, your data is subject to the approval of the provider. And if the government adds pressure to this mix, the line between the provider’s discretion can get blurry. While this is surely no cause for great alarm—you shouldn’t use WikiLeaks as a cut and dry case against cloud computing as we’re pretty sure this one is a unique case that most of us won’t ever experience—it does show us that while the cloud does have a silver lining, there are still some gray areas that may surface as we all contemplate the migration from traditional data center models. Contact your managed service provider to discuss the best and most secure options for your data.
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