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Open-Xchange 2016 Prediction: Drawing the Battle Lines on Encryption

Virtualization and Cloud executives share their predictions for 2016.  Read them in this 8th Annual series exclusive.

Contributed by Rafael Laguna, CEO at Open-Xchange

2016: Drawing the Battle Lines on Encryption

It's been a tumultuous year for privacy and data issues, with major global events catapulting encryption and its future into the spotlight. In Europe we had British PM, David Cameron, make yet another bid at pushing his "Snooper's Charter" through parliament. And the US had talks on technology firms being forced to include government backdoors into software.

Cameron may have backtracked on his knee-jerk statements on encryption to some degree - and Obama's administration might have chosen not to force businesses to decrypt data, for now at least. But what's clear is that the issues around encryption have not been laid to rest. Encryption has been used as a political football through 2015 across Europe and the United States - and with US Presidential election next year this is only going to continue.

But it's clear the public have now started to sit up and notice the huge issues around both their data's privacy and security. The onslaught of high-profile cyberattacks in 2015 like Ashley Madison has meant people are now taking a far more active role in questioning who has their data and what it's being used for.  

We've had the European ruling on Safe Harbor, meaning that no European's data can be stored in the US, and probably not even abroad by a US company. It's a move that will define the blurred lines on data sharing between countries and ultimately make Europeans' data far more secure. We have even seen encouraging moves from tech giant Apple, baking security into its products and even allowing for built-in ad blocker technology. While this won't protect individuals' data from being used for Apple's benefit it's a positive move and it is the first step towards service providers taking privacy more seriously - not simply bowing down to government demands.

So where does this leave us for 2016? It's fair to say that the political turbulence surrounding data encryption will continue - but it's also likely that service providers will experience increased pressure from consumers to ensure that their privacy and data are secure. We'll start to see service providers offering encryption for email communication and files more frequently, and even as default as part of their services. There is a big opportunity for service providers not to build their business models on selling customer data. And if 2015 is anything to go by, the public is taking their privacy more seriously than ever before. Businesses will need to take this into account.  


About the Author


Open-Xchange CEO Rafael Laguna took over as the web-based communication software company's CEO in 2008, after co-founding the company and sitting in as chairman of the board. As CEO, Laguna has welcomed software as a service (SaaS) into the company's product portfolio. 

Published Friday, October 23, 2015 6:40 AM by David Marshall
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