barry hadfield

Data in the Cloud

– Barrie Hadfield, CTO of Workshare, says:

In the latest turn of events following the infamous Snowden leaks, a recent ruling from U.S. Magistrate Judge James Francis now states that warrants can force U.S. cloud providers to hand over client information stored in data centers, even if the facilities are located outside of the country. This is the first court decision to directly address the issue as the debates around data access continue.

Given the level of media attention around these rulings, enterprises are increasingly paying closer attention to where their data is being stored, with heightened awareness of the regional laws and international legislation that applies to it. For too long, businesses have been out of tune with the legislation that cloud-based services and Internet communications are subject to.

In light of this, IT managers will continue to more closely judge the market’s options when it comes to how and where company data is stored, particularly as companies increasingly turn to file sharing solutions housed in the cloud.

Public vs Private

When it comes to where the company’s data is located, IT managers have the option to store content either on-premise in a private cloud, or in a public cloud. The traditional public cloud model allows IT to deploy collaboration solutions without having to free up server space. But when data is spread across a number of different data centers in various locations, there is not only an increased threat company data – organizations may also have to face the legal implications of EU and U.S. jurisdiction laws. On the other hand, private cloud requires hosting applications and data on internal servers, which can be severely cost prohibitive due to the size of infrastructure needed.

While both the public and private models have limitations, there is a third option: the hybrid cloud. This environment provides IT managers with the ability to store some resources in-house and others externally, offering the control and flexibility of both options.

Security Strength

As if NSA or EU data laws aren’t enough to deal with already, IT managers must also be fully aware of potential data leakages, which can often be brought on by employees’ use consumer-grade file sharing tools. Concerns over what is being shared – even content that is invisible to the naked eye, such as a file’s metadata – keeps IT managers awake at night, as sensitive content can be potentially destructive to the organization if exposed. Recent events like the tax return shared on Dropbox that was exposed on Google AdWords have brought these concerns to light, prompting the need for a truly secure and enterprise-grade file sharing solution.

Now, more than ever, IT must make wise cloud decisions. Particularly, they must take heed to offer their users cloud-enabled file sharing applications that provide both absolute security for IT control as well ease-of-use functionality that employees require.