Perimeter
3/25/2009
12:29 PM
Sara Peters
Sara Peters
Commentary
Connect Directly
Twitter
RSS
E-Mail
50%
50%

A Cloud Might Save You Money...But What If The Cloud Goes Broke?

I've been talking quite a bit about whether or not (not) users of cloud services can prove compliance with security, privacy, and e-discovery laws. Now a story from The Register has me thinking about yet another issue -- the inescapable question of a service provider's financial stability.

I've been talking quite a bit about whether or not (not) users of cloud services can prove compliance with security, privacy, and e-discovery laws. Now a story from The Register has me thinking about yet another issue -- the inescapable question of a service provider's financial stability.From the story:

    "Finally there is the question of the financial stability of the service provider. And more importantly what happens if they go out of business suddenly or simply choose not to carry on providing the Cloud/SaaS service? Essentially this comes down to questions of how can any data and other valuable information be retrieved at a forced end of service or when the customer simply decides to terminate the arrangement? Can data be retrieved simply and easily? How will the service provider ensure that it removes such data, and any backup/replica copies from systems and ensures that these are either destroyed or placed securely in storage where they cannot be accessed?"

Although the security industry is overperforming as compared to the rest of the IT market, the flagging global economy has spurred several high-profile mergers of security companies, resulting in the abandonment of some security products/services. The big cloud providers, like Amazon and IBM, are probably safe, but cloud computing is still a new technology, and the possibility of a budding cloud provider going under before it blooms is quite real.

So what happens to its servers if it goes out of business? E-discovery and data retention laws may require that data be retained for up to three years -- and we're not just talking about data protected by privacy law. We're talking about logs and metadata. No cloud provider that I'm aware of shares logs and metadata with its customers in the first place, so why would a defunct cloud provider turn that over to their customers?

Existing laws don't fully address these new e-discovery questions, but one case did set legal precedent that a party's obligation to produce electronically stored information cannot be avoided simply by storing it with a third party. That means it's possible cloud users could find themselves legally obligated to present data that they can't provide.

Nolan Goldberg, associate at Proskauer Rose LLP, will be discussing e-discovery and cloud computing at CSI SX, in mid-May. He will be joined by Tanya Forsheit, partner at Proskauer Rose, who will discuss the international implications of never knowing where on earth one's data is stored at any given moment. Call me a dweeb, but I'm excruciatingly excited to see that one.

Sara Peters is senior editor at Computer Security Institute. Special to Dark Reading. Sara Peters is Senior Editor at Dark Reading and formerly the editor-in-chief of Enterprise Efficiency. Prior that she was senior editor for the Computer Security Institute, writing and speaking about virtualization, identity management, cybersecurity law, and a myriad ... View Full Bio

Comment  | 
Print  | 
More Insights
Register for Dark Reading Newsletters
White Papers
Cartoon
Current Issue
Dark Reading, September 16, 2014
Malicious software is morphing to be more targeted, stealthy, and destructive. Are you prepared to stop it?
Flash Poll
Title Partner’s Role in Perimeter Security
Title Partner’s Role in Perimeter Security
Considering how prevalent third-party attacks are, we need to ask hard questions about how partners and suppliers are safeguarding systems and data.
Video
Slideshows
Twitter Feed
Dark Reading - Bug Report
Bug Report
Enterprise Vulnerabilities
From DHS/US-CERT's National Vulnerability Database
CVE-2014-0985
Published: 2014-09-20
Stack-based buffer overflow in Advantech WebAccess (formerly BroadWin WebAccess) 7.2 allows remote attackers to execute arbitrary code via the NodeName parameter.

CVE-2014-0986
Published: 2014-09-20
Stack-based buffer overflow in Advantech WebAccess (formerly BroadWin WebAccess) 7.2 allows remote attackers to execute arbitrary code via the GotoCmd parameter.

CVE-2014-0987
Published: 2014-09-20
Stack-based buffer overflow in Advantech WebAccess (formerly BroadWin WebAccess) 7.2 allows remote attackers to execute arbitrary code via the NodeName2 parameter.

CVE-2014-0988
Published: 2014-09-20
Stack-based buffer overflow in Advantech WebAccess (formerly BroadWin WebAccess) 7.2 allows remote attackers to execute arbitrary code via the AccessCode parameter.

CVE-2014-0989
Published: 2014-09-20
Stack-based buffer overflow in Advantech WebAccess (formerly BroadWin WebAccess) 7.2 allows remote attackers to execute arbitrary code via the AccessCode2 parameter.

Best of the Web
Dark Reading Radio