The NSA Poison and the Effects for US based Clouds

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No one denies the undoubtedly dominant position of Amazon AWS in the global Cloud market. But I am pretty sure that they are not happy at all with the unrelenting stream of news related to the unfathomable levels of NSA spying and the perceived connivance from US internet giants that they public has.

No wonder that yesterday, some of these giants ( Apple, Google, Microsoft, Facebook, Yahoo, LinkedIn, Twitter and AOL) made a call to rein in US spy agencies and to allow them to publicly disclose how often surveillance requests are made. Worryingly, Amazon is not in this list.

But after a whole summer of mind-boggling news about the breadth and depth of NSA (and other agencies) spying and the massive amounts of data snooped with increasingly unclear intentions, there is a slow but steady change of perception in Europe and Asia about the wisdom to trust US based companies with their core business data.

A recent survey by PriceWaterhouseCoopers found that 54 percent of German companies find the cloud risky after learning of NSA spying. And this is a trend across Europe and increasingly in Asia.

Surely there is spying in Europe too (but surely too of a different scale given the gigantic resources of the NSA compared to its European counterparts) but all this affair has given European politicians a perfect excuse to favour well-connected companies in their own countries at the expense of US competitors.

These two factors, end user confidence (or lack of it) and political profiteering, can have a lasting effect in shaping the Cloud market. Much more if the torrent of news related to NSA continues unabashed, as it seems that it will probably happen and the US political class continues dysfunctional about it (which is even more plausible).

At Cloudways, as Cloud brokers working with a range of IaaS providers (US and elsewhere based), we are seeing and increased concern about this issue from our customers and some of them asking specifically to be hosted in non US based clouds and if possible in a cloud location in their own country.

This is worrying for everyone. From our perspective, because it seriously limits the range of options we can offer to some of our customers and from a more general perspective as it will undermine the development of the Cloud as a whole. If data can't (or customer doesn't want) move freely (and securely) around then much of what Cloud stands for will go away.

Hopefully, politicians will come to their senses (with a little push from the Tech lobby) and put forward a credible solution that ensures security without undermining everything else. It is in the best interest of everyone.