Cloud Computing and Data Under Investigation
I was getting ready to write a new post related to our security “Cloud Security”, when I spotted this article on the NYTimes – F.B.I. Seizes Web Servers, Knocking Sites Offline
I must confess, at first reading, I am appalled; but, on second thought, this was to be expected. One of my posts was going to be just about this danger.
When your data is “in the cloud,” there is the clear and unmistakable risk that you could be sharing resources with unethical companies, who may suddenly end up under investigation. And your data may end up being seized in the course of an investigation, without your knowledge. Suddenly, you lose your server, you lose your data, your website goes offline, and your lifeline is cut without notice or without reason. If you are an online merchant, that is, of course, especially damaging. But, in general, this is reason for great concern for everyone.
The investigation in question is supposedly related to the Lulz hacking group. This investigation is being conducted in conjunction with European authorities. So the data and servers that were confiscated could, for all we know, be on a place to Europe right now. And could become part of an investigation your company has no reason to be involved with at all.
When you approach the cloud, you need to think about these risks. And which data you put there, where you put it, who are your neighbors and what happens to your servers and your data, are all concerns you need to consider very well before making this decision.
This is not the first time, by the way, that the FBI or other investigative agencies do something like this. If they continue operating in this manner, with an apparent disregard for the issues caused to the other, innocent, companies hosted in the same or even adjacent servers, they may end up causing a damage to the cloud in itself, as more and more companies (already weary of data security in the cloud) reconsider their options in lieu of these episodes and probably decide that after all, hosting that server in house, albeit costly, is still the best option after all.
When you consider the cloud, carefully consider where your servers are going and where your data “may” end up. And if those servers are critical to your business survival, think again!