Prying Eyes: How to Love the Cloud Again



With the latest disclosure that the National Security Agency’s (NSA) PRISM program spied on Apple, Google, Facebook, and Yahoo, there seems to be a whole new level of paranoia around data security. In all fairness, this is a new frontier for consumers and businesses. For years now, we’ve been inundated with information about online security and solutions designed to protect the endpoint and the network from data breaches and malware. We’ve listened. And, we’ve invested in protection.

But the current events around NSA secretly siphoning data from cloud providers require us to reevaluate security in another, less controllable space. This time it’s not about security in our data centers, on our network or on our endpoints. We need to be vigilant about protecting our data and our privacy in the cloud.

What a love/hate relationship we’ve had with the cloud. As consumers, we love that cloud applications and solutions are easy, light-weight and enable mobility. As businesses, we love that the cloud offers time-saving, money-saving, and productivity-improving benefits. But, there are times when we all hate the mysterious nature of the cloud. Where is the data? Is it secure? Are we risking our privacy?

When NSA’s snooping first made headlines, it felt like we all had the very same collective thought. “I knew the cloud was too good to be true. I always wondered who was protecting that information.” At one extreme, there will be consumers who simply accept that this is the way of the world and not change a thing. At the other extreme are the enterprises that will begin blocking access to these cloud applications in fear that corporate IP will get into the wrong hands. Then, there is the contingency that understands that not all content is created equal.

If you recognize that not all content is created equal, you can stay one step ahead of the privacy challenges. Think about it: You and your employees may have distributed content in the cloud that probably shouldn’t be there. And, with the rise in mobile users and mobile access, the key is to find ways to classify this mobile content appropriately and store it where it’s the most secure. Using a more systematic approach, it is possible to mitigate risk and maintain control over your distributed content.

With today’s mobile content management solutions, sensitive documents can be stored securely on-premises and accessible only to those approved to view, edit, and copy. This data is protected with end-to-end encryption in transit and at rest with administrator keys and controls. On the other hand, less sensitive content that is deemed public-facing can be stored in the cloud and accessed with ease. When the right content is in the right place, the next step is to give mobile users easy and secure access to that content from one comprehensive solution.

We know the world is changing. The NSA and PRISM issue is merely a wake-up call that’s forcing consumers and businesses worldwide to reevaluate security — their vendors and their deployment strategies. But in this changing world, remember that there are solutions designed to help enterprises and their employees move with the times and stay secure from prying eyes.


About Gregory D Evans

Gregory Evans is one of the worlds greatest security consultants. Go to for more details.
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