This week’s cloud news round-up focuses a lot on how the International market influences the cloud. Whether it’s Russia’s actions to block a single app from its citizens, a sizable government contract being announced in the United States, or the European Union’s approaching deadline for GDPR compliance, the actions of the government bodies around the world have a direct influence on the cloud market.
Russia Targets Telegram, Brings Down Cloud Services with It
In an effort to punish Telegram, a cloud-based instant messaging service that refused to hand over encrypted messages to the Russian government, the world’s largest nation inadvertently brought down numerous unrelated services hosted by AWS and Google Cloud.
Russia is in the process of attempting to block access to Telegram for its 14-million Russian users, however a unified resistance staged by third-party VPNs, cloud service providers, and other organizations refusing regulating body Roskomnadzor’s requests to ban the app.
The result of this action was seen as a general, temporary drop in Sentiment ratings for Google Cloud and AWS. A slight uptick for Microsoft Azure brought it within three tenths of a point to AWS’s composite index score.
Massive Pentagon Contract Looms for Big Three Cloud Providers
The Pentagon is currently taking bids for a winner-take-all cloud contract worth up to $10 billion to the winning company. The contract is expected to be awarded in the next month, with a single company receiving an exclusive deal to handle the Pentagon’s cloud infrastructure. The top three cloud providers in the United States, Amazon, Google, and Microsoft are said to be working diligently to win this contract.
Google has been working to build its certifications portfolio in order to prove its ability to handle top secret information for the Government. This is one of the requirements of the contract, that the winning bidder receive all necessary certifications within nine months.
Unfortunately for Google executives, 3,100 Google Employees have signed a petition requesting that the Silicon Valley giant walk away from any deal that would have them working with the Pentagon.
Despite this internal pushback, Google continues to discreetly pursue the qualifying certifications and is continuing to pursue the contract, albeit quietly.
Amazon is the statistical frontrunner for the contract, with a head start of having all of the necessary certifications already in place. Amazon is also already working with the CIA and Department of Defense.
One possible hurdle to Amazon’s claim to victory is the very public feud between the online retailer and the President, Donald Trump. Donald Trump has been tweeting frequently about Amazon, making claims that the company has been taking unfair advantage of the Post Office’s pricing and using the public resource as a cheap “delivery boy”.
Microsoft, which was awarded a $927 Defense Department cloud support contract in 2016, has teamed up with fellow bidders Oracle and IBM to attempt to dissuade the Pentagon from awarding the exclusive deal to Amazon.
The Oracle-lead coalition wants to see the contract broken up and distributed to multiple vendors, rather than a winner-take-all model that would give the winning bidder a massive advantage in the competitive government sector. Other companies bidding include: Hewlett Packard Enterprise and Dell.
As for the Liftr Index, a massive award such as this would undoubtedly have influence a cloud provider’s popularity and trust among the public sector. Efforts made by all bidders to meet the high certification requirements have a positive impact on a provider’s security rating, long-term – regardless of whether or not the company is awarded the deal.
GDPR Deadline Approaches
The deadline for organizations to achieve compliance with the EU’s new GDPR guidelines is May 25, 2018. These new guidelines represent sweeping changes to data collection and management policies affecting any business or organization that handles data of EU residents. Failure to meet these new standards could be met with a fine – even if that organization is based outside of the EU.
The GDPR was put in place to protect the rights of private individuals over their data. This includes breach notification quickly after an organization has determined that a data breach has occurred. Consumer rights to privacy and to be forgotten are also included in the GDPR overview. Additionally, organizations have a new set of data reporting and rention standards to adhere to.
For cloud providers, this is a major deal. GDPR regulations will affect not only the cloud providers that operate within the EU, but their customers, and in some cases their customers’ clients. A recent report from Crowd Research Partners indicates that only 40% of organizations are either GDPR compliant or on the path to compliance by the May 25th deadline.
For many of these organizations, seeking a cloud-based alternative to their current on-premise solutions in order to outsource some high-level compliance steps is a possible route.
Amazon Web Services compiled an entire resource center on its website dedicated to assisting its customers with understanding and achieving GDPR compliance.
Likewise, Microsoft Trust Center published an assessment that helps its customers determine if they are ready for GDPR.
Alibaba Cloud published its own FAQ about GDPR, including an outline of major changes and a commitment to achieving GDPR compliance by the deadline.
Google Cloud has also created a complete guide of its services and standards for GDPR compliance, as well as a mini-FAQ addressing some specific questions regarding customer auditing capabilities and resources for organizations.
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