Wikileaks and AWS Data Centers: A Storm in the Cloud, and a Silver Lining

by | Oct 12, 2018 | Cloud Computing

Wikileaks founder Julian Assange has been the center of controversy countless times. The public’s inclination to engage academic discussions about the free-speech-versus-right-to-privacy argument are central to most Wikileak events. Sensitive and confidential information that Wikileaks puts out on the internet has done good, some argue. Some has been bad. One can argue that Wikileaks has prevented assassinations. One can just as easily argue that it has unfairly influenced elections. But something has just happened that could potentially bring the issue to the doorstep of many thousands of everyday people and businesses. Wkileaks and AWS Data Centers are in the news, because information about the locations of public cloud services compromises those services.

WikiLeaks has just published what it claims is a list of all Amazon Web Services data centers. This includes data center addresses and details about the service’s infrastructure.

Why the AWS Data Center Wikileak Hurts Everyday Businesses

What does it matter where the data centers are located? Greensboro NC tech commentator Aidan Hunt observed, “the only people who will really benefit from this being leaked are AWS competitors and malicious actors intending to disrupt international communications.” London Founder of Cloud 66 Khash Sajadi likewise remarked that it puts “AWS customers at potential risk.”

This is a big deal. AWS is at the top of the list of general-consumption cloud service providers. AWS has “hundreds of thousands of customers storing all kinds of data,” as Amazon declared in its own statement when addressing its decision to end its contract for providing cloud services for Wikileaks back in 2010. (Note: See the possible motive for the leak?) Those hundreds of thousands of customers now vulnerable to the likes of hackers, who know how to use data center intelligence to break into cloud accounts, should be concerned.

Of course, using general consumption services comes with these kinds of risks. If your data is hosted in a public cloud, this can happen.

A Private Cloud Solution

AWS is one of many popular public cloud solutions. Take special care when choosing between public (AWS) and private cloud. The attraction to a public cloud solution, and why this is the direction so many businesses go, is because Public Cloud can provide services and applications that are in the public domain – so budget-minded businesses can operate with functionality and for a better price than can be done in-house. However, public cloud has the obvious disadvantage of public vulnerabilities.

Private cloud is different, and offers more security. Private cloud is an approach to cloud computing within a private IT infrastructure. Services are provisioned for a business’ dedicated use. Individual organizations are, therefore, not sharing space where IT services are supported over private IT infrastructure for the dedicated use of a single organization. Keeping company communications and data storage in a private cloud solution means there is no involvement of third-party vendors, which means more control and much less exposure to unwanted outside influences.

Private Hosting versus Public Hosting: Cost

Cost/benefit analysis when deciding between public and private cloud solutions must take into account many factors which cannot be reviewed in detail here. A great article that addresses several factors points out that considerations can converge. It is sufficient to say that the cost of private versus the cost of public cloud hosting can fluctuate between each other as to which is the most cost-efficient. Never the less, consideration about the cost to business if there is a data breach must be considered in the analysis. Private cloud might be the silver lining to your business’ cloud services.

If you have questions or concerns about your data center solution, we welcome calls and emails requesting more information.

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