Cloud Computing

Singaporean Startup Unified Inbox Revamps Cloud Product in Wake of Snowden Revelations

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Following the one-year anniversary of the Snowden revelations, Singapore-based cloud collaboration startup Unified Inbox revealed that it had to shift its strategy and enhance its backend infrastructure in order to launch in a post-Snowden world.

According to a report by ZDNet, increased concerns around privacy and security caused the company to delay the release of its cloud collaboration platform. Currently, Unified Inbox is only available for iPhone and is in beta testing.

“Our initial business strategy was to have everything powered by the same backend and same cloud service, comprising the infrastructure layers, data hosting and storage, application layer, and so on,” Unified Inbox CEO and founder Toby Ruckert told ZDNet.  “At least it was like that until the events from last year unfolded.”

Once the Snowden revelations came out, users began to question how the data that was being held and how much security was built into the product. It became a concern to have one company managing all of their communication tools, the report said.

Ruckert said: “We were ready to launch Unified Pro then, but with these developments post-NSA, we had to make a massive change to our backend infrastructure to convince customers to trust us with their data.”

Unified Inbox provides an interesting case study into the impact of the NSA revelations on customer perception. Even though Unified Inbox is not a US-based company, presumably it intended to use a US-based public cloud service like AWS to host its backend infrastructure, which may have been the cause of concern for customers.

Some customers are taking security into their own hands by employing multi-factor authentication tools. A recent survey noted that by 2016, more than half of employees will use some sort of multi-factor authentication to secure their files in the cloud.

Post-Snowden revelations, Unified Inbox decided to switch back to a closed beta so it could ensure the product met the new security and privacy concerns. It has done several things to accomplish this goal. According to the report, one of the things it has implemented is separating the infrastructure and data storage layer from the application and service layer.

It has also hired a security specialist to ensure safety in the cloud as well as added the ability to deliver the service in a private cloud.

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