Friday, January 1, 2010

The obligatory New Years Prediction

I have one prediction for 2010. With Google Docs seeing wider corporate and enterprise adoption the opportunity for truly devastating data breach is increasing as well. The security issues on cloud computing are still being defined, but companies and municipalities are starting to use Google Docs, either to support Microsoft office, or replace it. Los Angeles has chosen to move completely to Google Docs over Microsoft Office. According to a Google advertisement, 60% of U.S. state governments have "Gone Google", meaning they have opted to use one or more Google enterprise application services.

Does this mean that our state governments are trusting Google with sensitive information? Not necessarily. In fact, probably not. But it does mean that there is a lot of information being entrusted to Google that wasn't just a few months ago. And there is no way to ensure that sensitive data won't be sent through Googles servers, and that brings us to my prediction: This year there will be a data breach of unrivaled severity, and it will be through Googles cloud computing services. It will massively slow down the adoption of SAAS (software as a service) as companies and individuals realize the security models we have today are not suited to the cloud. It will strengthen Microsofts position (supposedly threatened by Google Docs) in the enterprise as organizations trip over each other to get away from Google Docs and back to Microsoft.

Such a breach could be a good thing in the long run if it makes us look at cloud computing and reexamine our security paradigms in light of the new and unique requirements of protecting data in the cloud. But depending on what is breached, in the short term it could be very ugly.