NTT surveys Snowden impact on IT ops/strategy

A survey of 1,000 IT execs in the US, France, Germany, Hong Kong and the UK found that up to 97 percent are changing where and how they manage their data. Cost to US companies could be $35 billion through 2016.

A new study of global ICT decision-makers, titled NSA Aftershocks, commissioned by NTT Communications, shows how the US National Security Agency's (NSA) PRISM program has affected enterprise business strategy and operations.

The market research firm Vanson Bourne interviewed 1000 leaders at major companies in France, Germany, Hong Kong, the UK and the USA in the last two months. Among its findings:

  • Almost nine in ten IT leaders are concerned their data may have been accessed without their permission
  • Only 5 percent of respondents believe location does not matter when it comes to storing company data
  • More than three in ten (31 percent) are moving data to locations where the business knows it will be safe
  • 87 percent say they now have an in-depth knowledge of the data protection laws in the countries where their business operates
  • 83 percent agree the revelations have prevented them from moving their IT infrastructure into the cloud
  • ICT decision-makers now prefer buying a cloud service located in their own region, especially EU respondents (97 percent)
  • A sixth is delaying or cancelling cloud projects

A study released in August of last year by the Information and Technology Innovation Foundation predicted that US companies could lose up to $35 billion in revenue through 2016. The new survey suggests that IT decision-makers are indeed taking action that affects US companies.

The Storage Bits take
The steady drip-drip-drip of the Snowden revelations may make that $35 billion estimate way too low. Who knows - other than the NSA - what other bombshells will go off in the next year?

The survey makes clear that IT execs are now awake to the risks of cloud storage and the issues of data location. Given a tech P/E ratio of 20 and a gross margin of 60 percent, these revelations could knock more than $400 billion off the market capitalization of affected firms.

The US intelligence community's - which includes the NSA and CIA - record of lying to Congress, their funders and our designated drivers, is chilling. Their recent Heartbleed denials - "uh, is it better for us to look stupid or or even more evil?" - don't inspire confidence.

Nothing typifies the rogue behavior of US intelligence agencies more than the fact that after the Total Information Awareness program was tabled by Congress in 2003, the agencies went ahead and did it anyway - at great cost to US prestige and for no observable increase in US security. And now, it appears, at great cost to US companies.

Shielded by over-broad secrecy laws, the NSA was essentially unaccountable until Snowden released, at great personal cost, the damning documents. Each generation of Americans has had to fight to retain control of our government and to enforce fidelity to the Constitution.

This is this generation's battle to win - or lose.

Comments welcome, of course. Encryption helps, but the power of sigint and global data correlation makes privacy ever more difficult. What else needs to be done to protect the private sphere from over-reaching governments?