How extraordinary it is to be present at a revolution. How enlightening it is to bear such close witness to the paradigm-shifting arrival and evolution of such a thing as cloud computing. How frustrating it is to have to clean up the mess of misinformation fear-mongering underperformers in this emerging universe have rained down upon the rest of us.
There is a shadow being cast across the encroaching marvel that is cloud computing, and it’s the panic-spawned product of IT providers who are alarmed to find themselves ill prepared for shepherding it in. Rather than scramble to become the experts on the cloud a confused world needs, too many technology vendors have chosen, instead, to propagate a climate of fear around the subject, fanning the flames, specifically, of near-to-the-surface information privacy concerns.
“Don’t migrate to the cloud!” they warn their customers. “Your data will not be secure! Your information will be exposed and available to prying American eyes,” evidence of whose right to same, they will insist, is spelled out in the US Patriot Act. It’s no wonder such a murk of misunderstanding surrounds this subject.
In fact, such claims are nonsense, irresponsibly sprung from a self-centred position that acknowledges an inability to profitably capitalize on the trend, and so seeks to capsize it, instead. At 360, where we’ve been performing successful — and secure — migrations to the cloud for our clients for a full two years, we regard this practice with sincere disappointment.
By now, unless you’ve been living under a rock, you’ve heard of the cloud. Certainly Microsoft’s spent enough money on its cloud campaign to guarantee a buzz, and the consequent rush of queries from companies curious about how they might benefit from the shift isn’t surprising.
How unfortunate that so many of their inquiries have been so recklessly thwarted by IT providers who translate their own states of unreadiness into diatribes of fear and loathing for the stuff.
Yes, most of the brand-name cloud providers do reside in the United States and so, yes, your data will, too, if you sign with them. But Canadian data resident on American soil are subject to every bit the same levels of protection as if they sat in your own server room.
Halifax privacy lawyer David Fraser has tackled this notion head on. “Canadians are quick to use the USA Patriot Act as an excuse to avoid cloud computing,” he’s said. “But they might not know many of the same laws already exist in Canada.”
The Patriot Act, a homeland security initiative that surfaced in response to 9-11, does not, in fact, grant the American government free and easy access to any data inside its geographic limits — no more so than the Canadian government has permission to data on its turf. If a US agency is interested in an individual who has ties to Canada, the FBI is obliged to make a formal request to the RCMP or CSIS, and cannot undertake a brazen investigation covertly.
What’s more, it’s important to remember that Canadians have actually been engaging in cloud computing for the better part of a decade, in the form of online banking and Web shopping, and ain’t no one been crying foul about that.
So let’s all relax, shall we? At 360, we have invested endless energy and time into educating our customers about the realities of the cloud-based model, a constant defense against the prevailing and panic-strewn negativity being spread by our less-prepared competitors.
Enough already. The cloud is stable, sweet, safe and smart. And we will see you there.