NSA scandal spooking IT pros in UK, Canada

Survey indicates shift away from U.S. hosting

The National Security Agency's massive data collection practices that have come to light in the past six months have apparently spooked at least some businesses in Canada and the United Kingdom, based on a survey out today that says many are moving their company's data away from the U.S. due to "the NSA surveillance scandal."


The survey, commissioned by Peer1 Hosting, asked 300 IT managers at small businesses in the U.K. and Canada about how they felt about data storage and whether their opinions about where to store data were impacted by news about NSA surveillance practices.

All of the survey’s participants said they were familiar with what the survey called the “NSA scandal” and it made them less eager to keep company data in the U.S. or at U.S.-based hosting facilities. About half have stored data in the U.S.

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A third of the Canadian managers and slightly less than one quarter of the U.K. managers  indicated they are taking steps to ensure their company data is not stored in the U.S. due to concerns about NSA cyber-spying. Some 29% of those surveyed also said the fact that the NSA collects information on cell phone calls in the countries of its allies has left a bad taste and will impact their decision-making concerning data hosting.

The survey also showed that the U.S. has been the most popular location for Canadian and U.K. IT managers to host data other than in their own countries. But now barely half trust the U.S. as a location to host data. The constant drumbeat of news about the NSA has made the 300 IT managers more skeptical about hosting providers everywhere, and 57% said they were “less likely to use the public cloud as a result.” At the same time, the news about NSA data collection practices had left many realizing they didn’t know as much as much about privacy and data security laws as they should.

Ellen Messmer is senior editor at Network World, an IDG website, where she covers news and technology trends related to information security. Twitter: MessmerE. E-mail: emessmer@nww.com

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