Tuesday, July 27, 2010

Is the cloud beginning to disperse?

"BlackBerrys present security risk" is the alarmist headline from the BBC, reporting that the government of the UAE is trying to crack down on data leaving their national boundaries to be stored on computer servers outside the country. (http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/technology-10761210)

Last year the UAE tried to impose a software patch to BlackBerry devices in the country, sending a copy of the contents to in-country servers, accessible to government monitoring.

Are we about to see the first moves away from fashionable "cloud computing?" On the one hand, governments are beginning to want to access and control the data within, and across, their Borders; on the other hand, users are becoming aware of this and increasingly unwilling to trust some of their data to a service in the cloud that they can't control.

As I looked at the faded keys on my laptop, worn away through over use, I thought back to one of the "forensic computing" investigations I once performed: I had found that 80% of one employee's emails sent on company time were not work-related. The lesson I learned is that the stuff we do with technology can be found out by anyone who has enough time, motivation and technical skill. Perhaps it's not just the cloud we should be wary of!