Microsoft says NSA spying hit trust in the cloud

A senior Microsoft spokesman says that government surveillance has damaged trust in the cloud and in the company itself, pushing the latter to focus more on data privacy and security.

Privacy fears as US court rules against Microsoft
Privacy fears as US court rules against Microsoft

The firm's principal cyber-security strategist Jeff Jones was presenting at the IP Expo Europe exhibition in London on Thursday, where he suggested that the leaks from NSA whistleblower Edward Snowden had impacted the Redmond technology giant and the cloud computing market as a whole.

The firm claims to offer more than 200 cloud service products but has been in the headlines for all the wrong reasons over the last 18 months; first over claims that SkyDrive was continually tapped by the NSA, and then over the US DOJ decision that the government could view information held at its non-US data centres.

“Beginning on 7 March 2013, Prism now collects Microsoft SkyDrive data as part of Prism's standard Store Communications collection package for a tasked FISA Amendments Act Section 702 [FAA702) sector”, revealed a presentation slide released by American journalist Glenn Greenwald in his ‘No Place To Hide' book.

Microsoft is unlikely to have been alone as trust in the cloud took a nose-dive – Forrester researchers estimate that the scandal could cost the cloud computing industry up to £112 billion over the next three years while a study from NTT Communications indicates that almost 90 percent of IT managers have changed the way they use the cloud since. The same study claims that 16 percent delayed or cancelled their contracts with their providers.

Speaking at the event in London yesterday, Jones admitted that the leaks had hurt the software provider as well as damaged trust in the cloud.  

“I talk to a lot of business customers, and part of my takeaway on this is that, in some ways there is nothing new there,” he said of the reports into government spying. “What we see is a change in prioritisation, a higher awareness, and now we're seeing more [security] incidents that are actually happening.

He then suggested that that the leaks had ‘affected' cloud in the enterprise, as well as the company's own ambitions in this area, before adding that the growing distrust in the cloud had come at a time where ‘perceptual concerns' around cloud security were dissipating on deployment.

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