Not All Data Should Be Stored in the Cloud

The US-China Economic and Security Review Commission released a report today titled “Red Cloud Rising: Cloud Computing in China.” This report takes a look at China’s growing support for cloud services and the implications that may lead to for US companies and consumers.

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According to the report, “the Chinese government plans to make more than $1 billion available over the next few years to drive cloud computing development.” Cloud computing companies around the US are exploring the possibility of expanding overseas, but what does that mean for cloud users?

The question of data security is an important one. Already, when users upload their photos and documents to a cloud server, many times the cloud host (ie: Google, Dropbox, Microsoft) then claims rights to their files.

Earlier this year, Microsoft was the first major multinational tech company to gain rights to offer public cloud computing services in China. While the details haven’t been hammered out yet, Microsoft has stated that it plans on fully integrating Chinese cloud computing centers with its global cloud computing network. The report suggests that this could lead to a US citizens’ data being stored in China without ever having knowledge of it, let alone giving permission.

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The report also discusses concerns over the Chinese government having extremely broad access to data stored in the cloud. In theory, the Chinese government could demand that Microsoft turn over data or information from its networks.

Commissioner Larry M. Wortzel, PhD offered his thoughts. “The Commission’s latest report, Red Cloud Rising: Cloud Computing in China makes it clear that China-based cloud computing services may present significant security concerns for U.S. consumers and users of these services, ‘particularly if their data is being stored or processed using infrastructure in China.’”

While the future of cloud computing in China remains unclear, one thing is for certain—not all data should be stored in the cloud. Be wary of where you store your personal and business information. Keep your data safe.

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