The Guardian, and The Washington Post, have published revelations alleging there is a secret programme, run by the FBI and the National Security Agency to spy on the users of tech giants such as Google, Yahoo!, Microsoft and Apple, through the cloud services those providers offer.

Most of the companies alleged to be part of the programme have denied providing open access to user information, however the stories have started a debate into the privacy of cloud storage and online communications.

As a cloud hosting provider for business and individuals, Simply Mail Solutions take customer privacy very seriously and our clients trust us with their data because they know we provide secure storage in our UK data centres.

Colin Smith, MD of Simply Mail Solutions, said:

“Email, instant communications and cloud storage are now built into people’s lives, both in work and at home. We work hard to make sure customer data stays secure, and have never given carte blanche access to our servers to any government-appointed agency. “Hopefully the questions arising out of the PRISM revelations will encourage more people to ask is their online data secure, and who is in control of it?”

Anyone worried about access to their private information, should ask their cloud provider the following questions:

  • Where is the data stored? — Simply Mail Solutions host customer data in UK data centres. This means information is protected by UK legislation and not at risk from unauthorised access by foreign powers.
  • How secure is the data centre? — Physical access to the data centres is strictly controlled. Only authorised engineers are given access, and all visits are logged.
  • What network security is used? — All network traffic is monitored, giving customers reassurance their data is safe, and Simply Mail Solutions use the latest intrusion detection software to provide the highest level of security.
  • Who can access customer information? — With Simply Mail Solutions, only customers, and those they grant permission to, can access their data.
  • Who owns customer information? — With some ‘free’ accounts, customer information is owned by the provider, or the supplier is granted automatic rights over certain usages. With Simply Mail Solutions all information remains the property of the customer.

Concerns such as those that surround PRISM can negatively impact people’s attitudes towards cloud environments and hosted communications. However as long as people take the right precautions, and receive the necessary reassurances from their provider, they can enjoy all the benefits of cloud solutions, such as anywhere access to information and automatic syncing, without worrying over privacy.