Cloud security the focus at Boxworks conference

September 19, 2013 11:38:08 AM PDT
More and more personal data is being stored in the cloud and now, businesses are moving in that direction as well -- even in the face of questions over how to keep that data safe from prying eyes. Keeping that data safe was the focus of the Boxworks Conference in San Francisco.

"In Q4 of this year, there'll be more tablets sold than personal computers," Aaron Levie told attendes. He's 29-years-old and worth an estimated $100 million because he saw that change coming a mile away. He's the CEO of the cloud storage company called "Box."

"We have a lot of new ways that we communicate and a lot of new ways we are entertained because of mobile devices and tablets, but that hasn't translated into the enterprise yet as much as it will in the next couple of years," he said.

As consumers flock to Google Drive and Dropbox, Levie's made sure his company gets the corner on big business. He says 92 percent of the Fortune 500 companies use Box, in part because of "really focusing all of our energy on the security, privacy, safety and protection of your information."

Indeed, at the third annual Boxworks conference in San Francisco, the show floor was packed with security companies. Industry watchers say security is one spot where the cloud has a black eye. "Box's chief rival, many people think it's Dropbox, has been accused over the past few years of a lot of hacks and security breaches," Venturebeat writer Christina Farr said.

Box has a big security team and all of its apps use encryption, but with recent revelations about the federal government snooping around in people's data, one notable cryptographer says he's taking no chances.

"It's been suggested that people not trust American internet companies that store this stuff and I think they have a point," PGP creator and Silent Circle President Phil Zimmermann. PGP is the most widely-used email encryption program.

Zimmermann says using a separate encryption app is the only way he'll use cloud storage. He says he'll never trust the cloud companies' own security "because the service provider could be coerced by the government to hand over the keys and hand over the files so they could be decrypted by those keys."

Although the CEOs of Yahoo and Facebook have said the government's come knocking for their users' data, Levie says Box hasn't been getting those requests. Apparently, the NSA finds big businesses' data a little boring.

"Marketing information and product catalogs... not the kind of communication that the government is looking for," Levie says.


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