Friday, September 24, 2010

How much should companies trust cloud services?

"Reporting from San Francisco — Google Inc. fired a software engineer for snooping on its users' private information, the Internet search giant confirmed Wednesday."
Source NYTimes September 16th

The 27-year-old employee, David Barksdale, allegedly accessed information about four teenagers he met through a Seattle technology group, according to gossip website Gawker, which reported the incident Tuesday.

A similar reported incident that did not involve minors also resulted in the dismissal of an engineer, said a Google employee who was not authorized to speak about the topic.

These are two incidents in a short time of period at google. Even if google does encrypt the stored emails, it is alarming how google engineers (and maybe lower level employees) can access gmail accounts and read these information, even if only the top managers can do this.

Google is pushing for google apps and their service to be used from companies. Start ups as well big companies are starting to use google mail, google docs etc like Valeo (automotive with 30.000 employees) or Rentokil (pest control, 35.000 employees).

I love the idea of google apps, it is a cheaper alternative to Microsoft bundles (MS Office, Sharepoint, MS Project), but i see at the same time big risks.

What happens when a company is using google apps and might be dangerous competition to Google, or might be on the Google buying list?

How do we know Google is not taking advantage of the ability to access the stored data?

How do we know that Google has not a key to access all of this?

Hold on, is this not a risk everywhere? Let us take ATT as an example, could not a certain group of employee access all phone bills? Maybe access stored voicemails? Yes they might could, but it would be still far less deep and detailed company information to begin with.

ATT and other companies don't have the expertise like Google in search. Google has the most brilliant engineers in search technology, they surely can come up with search algorithm to puzzle all pieces together to get a clear picture of a company.

I am a big fan of cloud computing but I would think twice which part i would take into the cloud, or what software i would use for my company as a SaaS solution.

Any data which is company critical and describes the most value besides employees should stay in the company. If a cloud is necessary for these applications than a cloud controlled by my company not 3rd party.

Would a retailer use Amazon for hosting their complete customer base and day by day financials in the cloud and using Amazon services for this? I don't think it would be a good idea. I trust Google and I trust Amazon as companies, but i can't trust thousands of people working with them.

I am really surprised that the two privacy incidents at Google was not big in the news. I had expected much more noise about this, especially the privacy breach came at an awkward time for Google. Federal regulators and lawmakers are weighing whether to make Internet privacy rules more stringent — a move opposed by Google and other Internet companies that argue the industry can regulate itself.

Here just two of many other privacy issues concerning Google:
Google is also under scrutiny in the U.S. and overseas for collecting personal data from unsecured Wi-Fi networks through its Street View service that takes panoramic pictures from vehicles. Google also raised the hackles of privacy watchdogs when it rolled out a social networking service called Buzz that is used in conjunction with users' Gmail accounts.

- Posted using My iPad

Location:Spinning Wheel Ln,Spring Hill,United States

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