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CAN CLOUD PRODUCTS BE TRUSTED IN THE ENTERPRISE OR FOR ENTREPRENEURIAL PROJECTS?

It appears that the latest version of Google's Chrome released on the development channel can easily and seamlessly exist on top of an existing operating system to bring the Chrome experience to enterprise and entrepreneurial users at minimal implementation cost.

But given the recent NSA revelations of government access and spying using the facilities of major hardware and software vendors, I question the security aspect of running any additional software that stores data on unknown third-party servers and that is being made available under a unilateral terms of service/privacy contract that appears to provide little or no legal protection for the intellectual property of the user that might be disclosed by third-party monitoring of the communications stream or documents uploaded, downloaded or processed by a cloud-based vendor.

So, unless there are legal safeguards to protect and safeguard private, confidential, or proprietary information – along with substantial remedies for unauthorized access and disclosure, the idea of expanding my development activities to the cloud remain somewhat doubtful.

Yes, there are many benefits for both the enterprise and entrepreneurs when it comes to lowering the cost of entry and improving collaborative activities. But, at what price? With the current United States Patent System conferring preference on the first person to file, rather than the first person to reduce an invention to practice, anyone or any corporation monitoring the development of new ideas could, at this point in time, theoretically, beat an inventor to a patent – and should that party have more legal talent and funding than the inventor – it would be no contest; and the invention is lost to the corrupt individual or corporation. Lest you believe that this is an impossibility, one might consider that both industrial espionage and state-sponsored industrial espionage has been increasing over the past few decades.

And, there is a vested interest in a government being able to monitor developments in key industrial, electronic, and software fields that have an impact on national security. With some of these systems, it is like the government has a two-way connection into your home, office, and life. Given that the United States government has allegedly tried to subvert strong encryption on Internet-related communications, one must take precautions against both rogue agents and rogue governments. It would not be the first time that a relatively low-paid government agent with the “keys to the kingdom” has violated their oath of office and fiduciary duties to provide information to foreign sovereign governments, government contractors, corporations, and individuals for personal and/or ideological self-benefits.

The alternative model is to reduce collaboration to a bare minimum of people, and to insure that the development effort is compartmentalized. While there is a corresponding loss of creativity and security, there may be an offsetting gain of protecting your intellectual property.

Bottom line …

Until the laws regarding the access, storage, dissemination, and usage of digital properties are upgraded, cloud-based operations appear to make individuals, corporations, and nations more vulnerable to evildoers and malicious political parties.

There is also the possibility that key software components ("apps") used to facilitate your projects or communications can be easily withdrawn from the marketplace by those who control their own "app stores."  Many plug-ins will may be obsoleted, like those based on older APIs (Application Programming Interfaces) or those that are perceived to present unacceptable security issues like Adobe Flash and other similar plug-ins.

And, let us not forget the inherent security risk of using xml-based data structures where each data element is clearly tagged -- sometimes to the point where the known tag structure and repetition migh provide insights that can be use to compromise encrypted communications.

Just saying – before you accept that free offer of software or services in return for scanning your communications to serve targeted advertising or improve the “user experience,” beware of the risks involved and implement prudent methods to mitigate those risks.

-- steve


“Nullius in verba.”-- take nobody's word for it!

“Beware of false knowledge; it is more dangerous than ignorance.”-- George Bernard Shaw

“Progressive, liberal, Socialist, Marxist, Democratic Socialist -- they are all COMMUNISTS.”

“The key to fighting the craziness of the progressives is to hold them responsible for their actions, not their intentions.” – OCS

"The object in life is not to be on the side of the majority, but to escape finding oneself in the ranks of the insane." -- Marcus Aurelius

“A people that elect corrupt politicians, imposters, thieves, and traitors are not victims... but accomplices” -- George Orwell

“Fere libenter homines id quod volunt credunt." (The people gladly believe what they wish to.) ~Julius Caesar

“Describing the problem is quite different from knowing the solution. Except in politics." ~ OCS

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