Wozniak Cloud Storage Worries Mirror IT Security Fears

There is evidence to suggest businesses of all sizes are concerned about the security of cloud-based storage platforms.

Comments from Apple co-founder and computer engineer Steve Wozniak concerning his fears about the migration to cloud storage have reopened the debate over security and privacy issues surrounding cloud storage. Wozniak's remarks€”made after performing in a controversial expose on Apple€™s labor conditions in China, "The Agony and the Ecstasy of Steve Jobs" in Washington€”came as enterprises and small and midsize businesses are increasingly adopting cloud-based storage platforms to deal with exploding levels of data.

There have been several high-profile incidences of data breaches at major corporations, including Apple and its iCloud service, which have helped create a culture of doubt about the safety of cloud storage, even as rivals such as Google and other major tech companies develop platforms designed to move data off physical servers and into the digital world. A recent joint study by security research organization Ponemon Institute and security specialist Thales found businesses are transferring sensitive data to cloud platforms without a clear understanding of how that information is protected€”or who is responsible for protecting it.

Wozniak, or Woz, as he is referred to, expressed his severe concern over the problems shifting to cloud storage could cause in comments that were reported by Agence France-Presse and other media outlets. "I really worry about everything going to the cloud. I think it's going to be horrendous. I think there are going to be a lot of horrible problems in the next five years,€ he was quoted as saying. "With the cloud, you don't own anything. You already signed it away.€

He also mentioned that users must agree to terms of service at the behest of cloud storage providers, a control problem he took issue with. "I want to feel that I own things," Wozniak continued. "A lot of people feel, 'Oh, everything is really on my computer,' but I say the more we transfer everything onto the Web, onto the cloud, the less we're going to have control over it."

IT decision makers dealing with public clouds say the loss of corporate data and control of data are their greatest concerns, according to a survey of more than 150 CIOs released earlier this month by storage services specialist Mezeo Software. However, survey respondents were not as concerned about data theft, even though no one believed their organization was exempt from data leakage to public clouds.