The Snowden Effect: 4 Important Lessons

Edward Snowden leaked several NSA classified documents. Thanks to his efforts, he is facing espionage charges in the United States and was once stranded in a Russian airport for 39 days before Russia finally gave him asylum. Businesses, governments and individuals have a lot to learn from the Snowden Effect. Here are four main lessons.

Snowden Effect

Credit: Elena Polio / Flickr

Lesson 1: Businesses need to take data security seriously

Businesses across the world have learnt that they need to take the security of their data very seriously. Interestingly, all companies across the world have been preaching about the virtues of data security. Incidentally, the Snowden leaks showed that many businesses in the world do nothing about protecting customer data.

Big tech companies such as Google, Apple and Microsoft denied that NSA had accessed their data. However; everyone learnt that they were cheating and that NSA had managed to access the data. The whole spectacle taught everyone that the data we entrust our tech companies is not safe at all.

It was after the leak that the big companies started announcing new measures to enhance data security. Many of them started talking about adding extra layers of encryption to protect their data. In all these, one wonders what companies meant when they used to say that they have the best security protocols in place.

Lesson 2: The cloud computing industry has a long way to go

The Snowden effect affected the cloud computing industry in several ways. First, the leaks showed that NSA managed to access data stored in the cloud as part of the PRISM program. Since NSA, under the PRISM program, managed to spy on individuals and corporations by accessing data stored in the cloud, security concerns about cloud computing have been revived.

Second, many business organizations are reconsidering their deals about using clouds of American companies. The common belief is that American companies do not run completely secure clouds and that storing data on the clouds is risky. Interestingly, some American cloud service providers have been losing customers as a result of the leaks.

Third, the leaks and the fear that followed have created an opportunity for new companies to emerge. Most of the new start-ups, like Protonet in Germany, are on the need to provide businesses and individuals with cutting edge security solutions for cloud computing.

Lesson 3: Data security is supreme

Many companies have learnt that the manner in which they handle customer data determines their success in the long term. Companies that lose their data as a result of such leaks stand to lose a lot. It seems that many companies have taken this lesson very seriously after the leaks. That is why many companies which stored their customer data with American cloud service companies before the leak decided to change their service providers after that.

At the individual level, data security remains an issue of primary concern. After the leaks, many people realized how vulnerable they could be as a result of the activities of the government or another party interested in accessing their data through the backdoor. To many, the need for companies to store personal data more securely is now an issue of concern. Also, many people now feel that governments do not need to spy on individuals and corporations by accessing company data.

Lesson 4: Your data is not safe

Perhaps this is the most important lesson that we can learn from the Snowden effect. We believe that once we protect our data from hackers, we are safe. However, the Snowden effect show the belief that data security is one of the most important things that anyone should be concerned with. You cannot afford to take the issue for granted since so many people and parties are interested in getting your data.

Unlike the common belief that governments would only spy on people they believe to be criminals, we know that governments across the world can spy on anyone in the name of keeping tabs and protecting national security.


In conclusion, these are the four important lessons from the Snowden effect. Going forward, we are going to witness changes in the cloud computing industry and the manner in which companies treat customer data.

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