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Did PRISM Ruin the Cloud for the Rest of Us?

Did the NSA mess cloud computing up for the rest of us?

One of the big revelations within the evolving PRISM scandal is how important a role big data and cloud computing have played in enabling the NSA to facilitate the scale of monitoring they achieved.

While there are many things to be said on both sides of the discussion around the PRISM program, its diminished presence within the 24 hour news cycle has given many within the cloud computing and big data industries pause enough to provide some analysis of the programs impact on the technology space.

Mark Milian of Bloomberg recently published a post articulating the perceived problems the PRISM fallout proposes for U.S. based cloud providers.


Did the NSA mess cloud computing up for the rest of us?

Citing a global survey detailing respondents’ reticence to continue with cloud providers, market projections for the cloud industry have been reduced on expectations that more businesses will jump ship.

Milian goes on to note that Forrester Research doesn’t believe this push back will be long lived. The truth is probably more towards the latter perspective, especially when considering that while cloud was part of the underlying technology that enabled PRISM to function, it was however not the guiding reasoning for the program’s existence nor was it the agent of its enablement.

Blaming cloud or big data (made more possible by the cloud) would be analogous to blaming  Amazon for a shopaholic’s behavior (granted this is an oversimplification). While Amazon provides a portal for buyers to acquire new goods, the mechanism behind what turns basic buying behavior into a problematic condition has little to do with the retail giant. So it is with cloud.

The NSA’s usage of cloud was a strategic decision, similar to the choices that businesses make every day in turning to cloud as the corner stone of a progressive IT strategy.  The technology works, though the NSA used it – effectively – for a purpose many of us find unsettling.

Businesses will not turn away from the cloud because of the NSA, just like consumers and businesses didn’t turn away from the internet regardless of all the terrible things you can find in there. The technology enables businesses to function successfully in their contemporary time periods – and the cloud is the technology that is making business work today, and will continue to do some into the foreseeable future.

Agree/Disagree? Let us know on Twitter @CloudGathering.

By Jake Gardner

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