PRISM fallout highlights cloud storage concerns

Companies continue to raise concerns regarding the integrity of data stored in the cloud.

In the aftermath of the NSA's recent PRISM scandal, numerous organizations across the globe have expressed concern regarding the integrity of their cloud-based storage solutions. Since 2007, the government agency has conducted clandestine work gathering information from Web-based sources, including collecting data from private businesses. Although officials have assured the public that these operations were executed in an attempt to combat terrorism, many enterprise business leaders became worried that their assets – particularly those residing in the cloud – were at risk. As a result, companies have removed their sensitive data files from cloud servers and have pursued alternative storage options, including on-site data archiving solutions.

The fallout has hit U.S.-based cloud service providers the hardest, with international organizations transferring their cloud-based assets to companies within their own country. The pervading belief is that international providers will be less beholden to hand over information to the U.S. government. According to a recent study conducted by the Information Technology & Innovation Foundation, the U.S. cloud computing industry could lose as much as $35 billion over the next three years because of fears related to the PRISM program.

VR-Zone contributor J. Angelo Racoma stated that service providers have attempted to alleviate these concerns by placing greater focus on their security offerings. California-based company Egnyte, for instance, recently released a product that is specifically tailored to prevent similar intrusions from occurring by creating access levels for different files based on their sensitivity.

Large corporations search for answers
Smaller organizations and start-ups aren't the only businesses clamoring to improve the security of their cloud solutions. Even large enterprises such as Microsoft have taken steps to enhance their data protection measures. The Local reported that the corporation recently announced it had selected the family-owned, Swedish cloud-hosting company, Ipeer, to beta test its Azure Pack suite. Ipeer marketing manager Erik Arnberg told The Local that his organization can ensure that data stored on its servers will stay in Sweden.

"Data sovereignty is increasingly the name of the game," Arnberg. "Many of the largest cloud providers can't even tell you with any certainty where exactly your data is when it's stored. … When the NSA scandal broke and companies saw the breadth of the surveillance, a lot of them started to rethink their approach to data safety and how they protected their data."

Despite these efforts, it has yet to be seen whether cloud providers will be able to effectively safeguard information stored on their servers. For organizational leaders and small business owners concerned about the integrity of their sensitive company data, it may be wise to wait and see how these new services perform before entrusting that information to a third party. On-site data archiving solutions often provide much more security than a cloud-based alternative. Because DIGISTOR's REWIND uses the Blu-ray media format to store data volumes, sensitive information can be securely stored without worrying about a potential network-based breach. In addition, REWIND offers elastic scalability, allowing business owners to expand their archiving efforts whenever they wish, providing peace of mind regarding the integrity of their valuable assets.

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