After the revelations about PRISM I had started a small anonymous survey on the current confidence in the cloud, to see how the scandal has changed on the personal relationship to the cloud. The significance of the result is more or less a success. The participation was anything but representative. With at least 1499 visits the interest in the survey was relatively large. A participation of 53 attendees is then rather sobering. Thus, the survey is not representative, but at least shows a trend. In this context I would like to thank Open-Xchange and Marlon Wurmitzer of GigaOM for the support.
The survey consisted of nine questions and was publicly hosted on twtpoll. It exclusively asked questions about trust in the cloud and how this can possibly be strengthened. In addition, the intermediate results were publicly available at each time. The survey was distributed in German and English speaking countries on the social networks (Twitter, Facebook, Google Plus) and the business networks XING and LinkedIn because this issue affects not a specific target audience, but has an impact on all of us. This led on twtpoll to 1,442 views across the web and 57 views of mobile devices and ended with 53 respondents.
The survey should not be considered as representative for this reason, but shows a tendency.
The survey results
Despite the PRISM scandal the confidence in the cloud is still present. 42 percent continue to have a high confidence, 8 percent even a very high level of confidence. For 15 percent the confidence in the cloud is very low; 21 percent appreciate the confidence is low. Another 15 percent are neutral towards the cloud.
The confidence in the current cloud provider is balanced. 30 percent of respondents still have a high level of confidence, 19 percent even a very high level of trust in their providers. This compares to 15 percent each, which have a low or very low confidence. 21 percent are undecided.
The impact on the confidence in the cloud by PRISM leads to no surprise. Only 9 percent see no affect for them; 8 percent a little. 32 percent are neutral. However, 38 percent of the participants are strongly influenced by the PRISM revelations and 13 percent most intensive.
62 percent of the participants used services of cloud provider, which are accused of supporting PRISM. 38 percent are at other providers.
As to be expected, PRISM has also affected the reputation of the cloud provider. For 36 percent the revelations have strongly influenced the confidence, for 13 percent even very strong. However, even 32 percent are neutral. For 11 percent the revelations have only a slight influence. For 8 percent is no influence at all.
Despite of PRISM 58 percent want to continue to use cloud services. 42 percent have already played with the idea to leave the cloud due to the incidents.
A clear sign goes to the provider when it comes to the topic of openness. 43 percent (very high) and 26 percent (high) expect an unconditional openness of the cloud provider. 25 percent are undecided. For only 2 percent (low) and 4 percent (very low) it does not matter.
74 percent see in a 100 percent end-to-end encryption the ability to increase confidence in the cloud. 26 percent think it as no potential.
The question of the most secure/ trusted region revealed no surprises. With 92 percent Europe counts after the PRISM revelations as the top region in the world. Africa received 4 percent, North America and Asia-Pacific each 2 percent. For South America was not voted.
Even if the revelations about PRISM to cause indignation at the first moment and still continue to provide for uncertainty, the economic life must go on. The tendency of the survey shows that confidence in the cloud has not suffered too much. But at this point it must be said: Cling together, swing together! We all have not precipitate into the cloud ruin overnight. The crux is that the world is increasingly interconnected using cloud technologies and the cloud thus serves as a focal point of modern communications and collaboration infrastructure.
For that reason we can not go back many steps. A hardliner might naturally terminate all digital and analog communication with immediate effect. Whether that is promising is doubtful, because the dependency has become too large and the modern corporate existence is determined by the digital communication.
The sometimes high number of neutral responses to the trust may have to do with that we all has always played the thought in the subconscious, that we are observed in our communication. Due to the current revelations we have it now in black and white. The extent of surveillance, meanwhile also of the disclosure of TEMPORA by the British Secret Service, has surprised. Related to TEMPORA, hence the survey result for Europe as a trusted region is disputable. But against surveillance at strategic intersections in the internetalso the cloud providers themselves are powerless.
Bottom line the economic-(life) has to go on. But at all the revelations one can see, that we can not rely on governments, from which regulations and securities are repeatedly required. On the contrary, even these have evinced interest to read data along. And one we must always bear in mind again. How should laws and rules help, when they are broken again and again by the highest authority.
Companies and users must therefore now assume more responsibility, take the reins in their hands, and provide the broadest sense for their desired security (end-to-end encryption) itself. Numerous solutions from the open source but also from the professional sector help to achieve the objectives. Provider of cloud and IT solutions are now challenged to show more openness as they may want to do.
Graphics on the survey results
1. How is your current trust in the cloud in general?
2. How is your current trust in the cloud provider of your choice?
3. How does the PRISM uncoverings influence your trust in the cloud?
4. Is your current cloud provider one of the accused?
5. How does the PRISM uncoverings influence your trust in the cloud provider of your choice?
6. Did you already think about to leave the cloud e.g. your cloud provider due to the PRISM uncoverings?
7. How important is the unconditional openness of your provider in times of PRISM and surveillance?
8. Do you think a 100% end-to-end encryption without any access and other opportunities of third parties can strengthen the trust?
9. In your mind which world region is the safest/ trustworthiest to store data in?