Following revelations of the NSA breaching Google's private cloud services, many question the reliability of its data protection safeguards.

NSA bypassed data protection safeguards of Google, Yahoo

Stephen Perkins

Secure data storage has become a vital aspect of business operations as many companies become overwhelmed with large volumes of data. The tech giants that offer such services tout their security and reliability, but recent news suggests they may be more of a target, rather than a trustworthy provider.

According to a recent Washington Post report, which reviewed documents leaked by Edward Snowden, the National Security Agency secretly breached private clouds at Google and Yahoo, gaining access to the companies' data centers from around the world. This allowed the NSA to gather private data from millions of American Internet users. In just 30 days, the agency was able to process 181 million new records that included text, audio, video and metadata that showed who sent or received emails.

While Google and Yahoo deny any cooperation with the NSA, the cracking of a supposedly secure link between the public Internet and the companies' internal clouds represents a major threat to data protection since it would have allowed the government to gain access to their global data centers.

A Network Computing publication noted that Larry Ponemon, founder of the privacy and security research think tank The Ponemon Institute, said encryption enhancements that the tech giants plan to pursue in the wake of these revelations should be taken with a grain of salt.

Users cannot rely on Google and Yahoo for data protection and secure storage because it's simply too tall of an order to account for every possible threat.

"It may be foolish to trust in the privacy commitments of Internet and social media websites," Ponemon said, according to the source. "It is nearly impossible to protect personal information in this connected world."

Tech giants that offer cloud storage paint an awfully large target on their backs, however, smaller firms that can provide off-site backup and storage tailored to business needs will likely prove to be a better option for organizations seeking reliable data protection solutions.

Categories: Cloud Backup, Data Protection