The Giant World-Ending Problem with Cloud
We’ve certainly entered a very exciting time. One that has never been seen before – a time of such accelerated technological advances, that we can barely keep up with them.
With technology growing so quickly, I believe that it’s far outpacing the social change that I think must grow alongside.
Those of us in I.T. are witnessing a huge number of organizations embracing that “sexiest of words in I.T.” which is “Cloud”.
We’ve run into schools and even governments at the municipal and provincial level that are adopting the idea of “cloud”.
At it’s root, the concept is good. Most people you ask don’t know what “cloud” actually means.
A network-available computer. Unfortunately, it’s typically someone else’s (Google, Microsoft etc.).
I’d prefer a company or organization to purchase servers, and the required software to run their own cloud. Cloud computing is handy, efficient and has many benefits.
Here’s the Giant, World-Ending Problem.
If your organization is Canadian, you have to ensure that your data stays IN Canada.
Particularly in the case of Crown Corporations (it can be required for regulatory compliance).
In a recent blog post I called “The City of Edmonton Makes a Big Booboo” I mentioned the seemingly basic lack of understanding that a lot of companies have.
Even senior I.T. people in government.
IF you are a Canadian company and IF you decide to use “cloud” computing, and IF you choose a company that is based in the United States, you leave your data (including your customer’s data, perhaps your payroll, taxes, and even inventions you are working on) completely available to any branch of the U.S. government that decides it might benefit from it.
You could even wind up drawn into the U.S. tax system if they decide you’ve been “doing business in the U.S.” by having your salea information on that computer.
You could wind up seeing your invention released by someone “down south”. “What a coincidence” you’d say.
The U.S. Patriot Act allows their government unfettered and total access to ANY data that’s on the hard drive of a computer owned by a U.S. company. Even if that machine is located in another country (like a Google-owned datacenter in Canada for example).
One official here in my city stated “don’t worry – Canada is on a friendly basis with the U.S.”. The official also mentioned that “Google is very secure”.
Whether we like the U.S. or how secure Google is – has nothing to do with the bigger issue.
If the Patriot Act is invoked, all the data gets spewed out to whoever wants it.
This is why it’s vital to purchase your own servers and cloud solution (all available by resellers here in Canada).
You can have your “cloud” and benefit from the many efficiencies it brings – you just have to consider your data as an asset to be protected.
Currently big U.S. IT firms are realizing this is potentially impacting their sales – and will be trying to rectify it.
However, until we enter that more Eutopian society, practicality needs to be involved.