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PRISM & XKeyscore: No Reason to Shy Away From the Cloud

cloudsafeUsing Strong Security Measures like Tokenization Keeps Cloud Data Safe and Legally Compliant Across Borders

With recent revelations about NSA surveillance programs including PRISM and now XKeyscore, many organizations are concerned about the privacy of customer data and other sensitive business information being put on the cloud.  Many believe that using a U.S.-based cloud services provider is insecure and will allow government agencies to snoop on their data.

As a result, some are predicting a slow-down in cloud adoption, specifically the uptake of cloud services based in the United States. Unfortunately, the victim in this scenario will be enterprises themselves, since many of the leading and most in-demand cloud SaaS offerings are based in the United States.  But the reality is that with the proper security solutions in place, enterprises can confidently adopt cloud services based anywhere in the world while keeping their data resident and within their full control.  This level of control goes a long way towards eliminating concerns about 3rd parties accessing their sensitive corporate information.

Survey results recently released from the Cloud Security Alliance indicate that more than half of the non-U.S. residents questioned were less likely to use U.S.-based cloud services since becoming aware of the PRISM program.  This sort of data has industry analyst firms such as GigaOM observing that PRISM may be a windfall for non-U.S. cloud providers.

While there are some types of cloud services where the choice to move to a local provider may be fairly trivial, it becomes quite challenging at the SaaS “layer” of the cloud.  Here, enterprises are adopting cloud services that go beyond simple compute-power or storage services.  Instead, they are adopting mission-critical applications, such as services to run their Customer Management and Support Operations, or Sales or Human Resources functions.

Clearly, having the “best” application to manage their business is critical to their success.  Given PRISM and XKeyscore concerns, do they now need to eliminate a series of leading applications from their consideration just because they are based in the United States?  A category of products, known as Cloud Data Protection Gateways, may prove to be the solution to this problem.

Cloud Data Protection Gateways

Cloud Data Protection Gateways (CDPGs) work by intercepting sensitive data while it is still on-premise, replacing the data with a random tokenized or encrypted values, rendering information meaningless should anyone outside of the company access the data while it is in route to, being processed or stored in a cloud environment.

So while PRISM and programs like it certainly have caused organizations outside of the United States to take pause when they consider cloud-based services, deploying techniques such as tokenization in their cloud “blueprint” will enable them to maintain full control of their sensitive data and IP – at all times.  This will enable C-level executives to make the smartest choices possible when selecting the cloud services they will depend on to operate their business.

Additional Information

More information about Cloud Data Protection Gateways can be found by visiting Gartner, including the recent report entitled “Tackle Six Security Issues Before Encrypting Data in the Cloud”.

Gerry Grealish is Chief Marketing Officer of PerspecSys, a cloud security software provider.

The post PRISM & XKeyscore: No Reason to Shy Away From the Cloud appeared first on Cloud Computing Best Practices.

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