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Snowden didn't scare many out of US clouds says Forrester

A quarter of CIOs bail from US clouds, but only a third of those leave for fear of spooks

Sad cloud

Analyst outfit Forrester has asked the question “Did PRISM Cause An Exodus From US Clouds?” and found the answer is yes. At least a bit.

The firm asked “1,668 non-US technology and business decision-makers” whether “In the past year, has your company explicitly halted or reduced your spending with US-based companies for Internet-based services (e.g., cloud, online service/outsourcing) due to these security concerns?”

26 per cent said yes, they had.

But the company's next question, “What are the reasons you have decided to move away from using US-based companies for Internet-based services?” found 34 per cent of those asked said “Fear of intelligence community spying” was the reason for their departure. Others reasons for repatriating data or services included local laws, or greater comfort doing business with domestic providers.

The second question was answered by "427 non-US technology and business decision-makers whose firms have explicitly halted or reduced their spending with US-based companies for Internet-based services due to PRISM-related security concerns." We're not sure it is sound to do the math on this one and declare that a 34 per cent of 26 per cent means about eight per cent of people pulled data from clouds for fear of spying, because the exact nature of the samples isn't explained.

In any case, analysts Ed Ferrara and James Staten point out that respondents only had about a third of their data in the cloud anyway, so pulling it from the US is not a reversal of their strategies.

The authors nonetheless think there's plenty for US cloud operators to worry about, because respondents felt they aren't trustworthy with or without NSA intrusion. Of the 1,668 respondents 53 per cent said they would not trust US companies to hold any critical business data.

The study concludes that organisations using any cloud service providers from any nation need to look for suppliers who give them more control over security, because if the spooks don't get you, the crims will. Amazon Web Services (AWS) Key Management Service, under which AWS applies encryption according to keys customers hold, is held up as an example of a good example of a cloud provider giving users more control over their own security.

But the research also includes this warning:

“Your business partners are accountable to their governments, and you can’t expect them to put your interests above their own or those of their government.”

How happy are you with public cloud now? And how much do you want to see the source code of any agents or control freaks that shuttle data around in hybrid clouds? ®

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