Google Defends Cloud Computing in the Wake of China Hack Attacks
Google's threat to exit China in the wake of security attacks on Gmail accounts of Chinese dissidents and human rights activists has roiled the high-tech sector, also has the company defending the cloud computing model it lovingly nurtures. David Girouard, president of Google's Enterprise group, defended the cloud in a blog post. Meanwhile, while financial analysts say Google banks about $300 million to its top-line from business in China, or roughly 1 percent of its revenues, exiting China could have severe consequences for Google's future business plans.Google's threat to exit China in the wake of security attacks on Gmail accounts of Chinese dissidents and human rights activists has roiled the high-tech sector, recalling arguments against the cloud computing model Google famously employs to provide Web services. Google Chief Legal Officer David Drummond wrote in a blog post Jan. 12 that Google will cease censoring results on Google.cn, and will discuss with the Chinese government whether or not the company can continue to offer its search engine in China.
Drummond said the attack on Google's corporate infrastructure resulted in the theft of intellectual property from Google, though he declined to specify what the hackers stole.
"This was not an assault on cloud computing. It was an attack on the technology infrastructure of major corporations in sectors as diverse as finance, technology, media, and chemical. The route the attackers used was malicious software used to infect personal computers. Any computer connected to the Internet can fall victim to such attacks. While some intellectual property on our corporate network was compromised, we believe our customer cloud-based data remains secure."Girouard said Google believes Google Apps and related customer data -- hundreds of thousands of Google Apps users pay the company $50 per user, per year for Apps -- were not not affected by the hacks. Moreover, Girouard took the opportunity to tout Google Apps' security. He added:
"While any company can be subject to such an attack, those who use our cloud services benefit from our data security capabilities. At Google, we invest massive amounts of time and money in security. Nothing is more important to us. Our response to this attack shows that we are dedicated to protecting the businesses and users who have entrusted us with their sensitive email and document information. We are telling you this because we are committed to transparency, accountability, and maintaining your trust."