Confidence in the cloud buckles

Storm clouds heading for web services after Sony and Amazon hacks expose internet security flaws
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In the wake of high-profile online security issues, it seems confidence in the cloud is beginning to suffer.

When we asked retailers whether they thought customers would use cloud services to back up their data, a mere 15 per cent said yes. Sixty-seven per cent said no, while the remainder said they didn’t know.

Sony has very publicly been suffering with several data breaches – most notoriously the PSN hack, but it also lost data on some of its Greek music sites, and customer details have been stolen from the Canadian Sony Ericsson portal. A massive 77 million users have been affected, and this seems to have caused ripples through the entire tech industry.

Retailer Garry Stonehouse, from Gbiz IT Computers, is a case in point. He told us: “We’ve been selling cloud-based backup since the beginning of the year and sales initially went really well, until the Amazon outage. This is when we had to start justifying the service. Then, after the Sony PSN hacking, came the inevitable questions about security.”

Lukasz Kukawski, PR and marketing manager for PC gaming digital distribution company GOG.com noticed a similar trend: “It definitely didn’t help to increase customers’ confidence in digital distribution. We, I mean people working in the games digital distribution area in general, have to make sure we’re doing everything right and get those people’s confidence back as fast as we can.”

Adrian Scotter from PC retailer Anglian Internet felt security issues were not the only problem: “We get invited to a lot of webinars about various cloud solutions. To be honest, it’s a lot of pie in the sky at the moment. We have a lot of rural customers and they still struggle to get broadband, so cloud computing is not a realistic option for them.”

Small business specialist Andy Parkes said many of these doubts have been here for some time: “Concerns about security, data backups, and so on have been there since before the PSN or Amazon problems – but this has brought these issues to the surface again, so anyone thinking about doing anything around cloud computing will need to make sure they are asking questions and looking at how data is stored, backed up, and recovered.”

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