Last week I was on the phone with a partner discussing ‘cold’ cloud storage and what is best for the customer. In the middle of the discussion I declared, “we are the Switzerland of cloud storage”, meaning ultimately, it is always up to the customer to decide whether or not they wish to move their data into cloud storage.
Corporate records are usually retained and managed due to government and professional regulations. The vast majority of those corporate records are never searched, reviewed, or ever really looked at once they're filed away. These days, electronic records are a "store and forget it" process. So why do companies keep their records on expensive enterprise-class disk, or more recently, move them to expensive high performance cloud storage? It seems to me the real reason is the popular record management systems have always targeted existing high performance storage systems simply because that’s what organizations were buying and low cost cloud storage was not designed for records management functionality.
On September 2, 2016, Archive360 and other industry leaders filed a motion to join Microsoft’s lawsuit against the US Department of Justice (“DOJ”),  challenging the Electronic Communications Privacy Act (“ECPA”). Aside from the business benefits of cloud computing, cost savings, efficiency, and protection against hackers, cloud computing has now provided law enforcement a new tool to conduct extensive and unannounced searches. The DOJ may obtain customer’s data, including e-mails, photos, and business documents, from third-party service providers such as Microsoft, Google, or Apple. Under the “gag order” portion of the law, the government can bar those providers from notifying their customers that the government has sought access to the customer’s electronic stored information.  Prior to the advent of cloud based computing, if the government wanted to search such records it had to serve a warrant on the business thereby notifying them that their data was the subject of a search. Businesses could then challenge the subpoena or limit the extent of the documents sought; these procedural safeguards are lost if a business does not know its data is being delivered and reviewed.
In a victory for email privacy, a federal appeals court in New York has reversed a trial court’s ruling compelling Microsoft to turn over emails stored on servers located outside the US.  This latest ruling is one of several cases demonstrating that the law is trending towards privacy. This case involves governmental seizure of electronic records. The concern expressed in that case was that if the US could use an antiquated law to seek disclosure of records stored in the EU, other countries could use their local laws to compel US companies to disclose records to that country’s authorities. Microsoft’s attorneys correctly warned that this would create a “global free for all.”