You may have heard that recently the Federal government coordinated an international effort to raid and shutdown the popular online file-sharing website Megaupload.com in late January. With 180 million registered users, Megaupload accounted for approximately 4 percent of all traffic on the Internet. No trial was held to precipitate this shutdown – although there will be cases brought to prosecution in the near future.
So this brings about some important questions for those of us who use cloud applications. Can other file sharing and social-media websites be shut down just as easily? What are the implications the shutdown of Megaupload will have for users of similar services who use these services for legitimate (and legal) purposes? Currently there are no laws protecting the data of law-abiding end users utilizing public data storage. In the case of Megaupload, every user, legal or otherwise, lost all of their stored data.
The authorities shut down Megaupload because they believed a large amount of copyright-protected materials were being stored and shared on the site. In essence, Megaupload provided a digital “locker” for subscribers to upload data such as photos, films, music, personal documents, business documents, backup data, etc. Megaupload was enabling users to doing things not so different from accepted sites that include YouTube, Facebook, Tumblr, SugarSync, and Dropbox. So, what was the difference that let to Megaupload’s shut down? Many legitimate sites have been known to contain illegal content (although admittedly they do take steps to remove such content). So does the government have the legal authority to shutdown whichever website it chooses for being suspect to hosting copy-protected content? Should a website be responsible for the actions of its users? These questions have all been recently raised by social-media and file sharing websites, rattling the industry since the Megaupload controversy.
The implications have gone so far as to spill over into the enterprise business world as more and more companies adopt “cloud” storage solutions and utilize social-networking sites for low-cost marketing. What will the ramifications be for enterprise business taking advantage of these services? Moving forward, enterprise business will need to become more discerning with whom they choose to host their cloud data. Choosing reputable, public companies to host data is not a safe solution; as any data stored with a public company is just as susceptible to be used for piracy and just as susceptible to be shut down at the authority’s whim. A safe and complete solution is to have data hosted by a private cloud storage provider, such as Keystone.
What exactly is the big deal with the “cloud?” The future of computing lies in the “cloud.” Instead of companies spending thousands of dollars on hardware, upkeep, maintenance, connectivity, and backups in house; only to turn around one or two years later and spend more man hours and thousands more to upgrade and scale their equipment; it only makes sense to take advantage of the cloud. The cloud enables businesses to offload the expense, labor, and maintenance of their data by letting someone else take care of these needs for them, all the while making their data accessibility more stable, faster, easily scalable, and cheaper. The way we do business is changing, with computing and data storage moving to the cloud, data suddenly becomes accessible anywhere, anytime. How many of you have had a computer fail and lost irreplaceable data? Now imagine being able to pick up any computer, any tablet device, or any phone and have complete access to all your personal and business data from wherever you are in the world. All of these services are available now, kept safe and secured, and always accessible from Keystone Solutions.