The latest stumble in the cloud’s shocking fall from grace appears to have come from Google itself. Until now, the cloud’s missteps have been disturbing, but not unforeseeable. We’ve all heard the stories: healthcare organizations facing new fines and sanctions for sharing patient data through cloud-based services, and what has come to be known as the “Snowden Effect“ sparking a hot national debate about the appropriate balance between public security and personal privacy when it comes to communications. The reality is that when your data leaves your door, you’ve lost control-and you’ve opened yourself up to a whole host of surveillance and monitoring you may not even be aware of. That’s problematic for individuals concerned about their personal privacy. It’s nothing short of disastrous for organizations with not only a vested interested in data privacy, but a regulatory mandate to protect it.
But those disillusionments with the cloud pale in comparison to what Google, themselves, had to say this week about what they may have a right to know about YOU. In a stunning admission that’s circulating like wildfire, a recent Google legal brief filed in federal court said people can’t reasonably expect privacy when they send messages to a Gmail account. The analogy they used was equally shocking. When you send a business letter to a colleague, Google lawyers said, you shouldn’t be surprised if your colleague’s assistant opens it. But since when did the mail carrier have a right to read it en route? It’s no wonder that Consumer Watchdog immediately issued a recommendation that people who care about email privacy shouldn’t use the Internet giant’s service.
What’s the solution, you ask? Well, it just may come down to good, old-fashioned on-premises systems. Because, while the cloud providers may tout their alleged administrative simplicity and cost-effectiveness, sometimes it simply pays to stay in control of your stuff. Novell GroupWise has been offering precisely that benefit for twenty-five years. Yep, TWENTY-FIVE YEARS. By default, GroupWise native encryption is employed throughout a GroupWise system. And all connections between the GroupWise client and GroupWise agents use a proprietary, encrypted protocol. Even mailbox data on a user’s workstation (when they’re running in caching or remote mode, for example) is encrypted too. Sounds official and safe, doesn’t it? That’s because it is. Best of all, because it’s YOUR system residing on YOUR servers, there’s no “mail carrier” with prying eyes to worry about in the first place.