Unless you’ve been living under a rock for the last couple of months, you know that the US government and some of the largest communication and email service providers in the world have taken a very broad approach to the definition of privacy.
The PRISM project and recent ex-government employee disclosures have made us painfully aware how broad their reach is for big data collection. Moreover, I’m afraid, these leaks are only the top of the iceberg when it comes to the transparency of the last 10 years of raw data collection. What I see in these scary admissions is an opportunity. Now is the time for the cloud services and hosting industry to redefine customer expectations around how services can be better delivered, consumed, and valued by users.
Over the last couple of months, I have had the opportunity to talk to many of the largest players in the email business. Without question, one of the largest topics of conversation was digital privacy and how to respond in the face of changing customer expectation.
Given the reach that some of these “spying” programs have, it is clearly reasonable to expect more admissions that more than just email communication has been collected in the effort to keep us “secure from evil-doers.” It will probably also include things like collaborative documents, personal memories (photos, audio recording, etc.), file storage, and other storage solutions.
At Open-Xchange, we have had serious conversation and questions with customers around the ability to have a transparent system without backdoors to it. Often the question arises: “How does open source software give us the ability to have a more reliable and trusted software we can offer to our customers?” Our answer is simple. Open-Xchange software is fully vetted by hundreds of our client-partners, community developers, and IT administrators who have the flexibility to test and secure our platform personally. And our customers tell us they feel more confident about the software they’re using because they are in charge of developing freely and openly, trusted solutions.
Security and privacy are such a large part of the conversation with customers at the moment that we are focusing on it during our upcoming OX Summit 2013 in Hamburg, Germany. We will be using Summit this year as a platform for “ruthlessly open” dialog not only between OX and our customers, but also for industry leaders to join this pressing security matter as a trusted ecosystem. Finding consensus among some of the largest communication and email providers on the planet is important for the trust (and products) we deliver jointly with our partners.