PRISM shows that some data really should stay behind you firewall

Last week delivered an unpleasant blow to all who work within IT, media and communication - the American intelligence agency, NSA (National Security Agency), may have been able to tap into servers of several Internet firms, the so called PRISM program, which was only confirmed through a leak from within the NSA itself.

No one seems to know how long it has been going on, and no one knows how many of these incidents have been going on before; but without the leaks that alarm people on the outside.

The PRISM program, regardless of all details, puts focus on some aspects that we talk about on a daily basis with our customers - the importance of being able to choose between a cloud service and a local server installation of your social business software, sometimes more commonly referred to as a social intranet.

Incentive is a server software; this means that the typical customer install it on a server within the company and behind a firewall. In order for someone outside to reach the critical business data that coworkers exchange every day, they have to breach through the firewall.

Incentive can also be installed in the cloud, on someone else's server - through services such as Windows Azure. For that to work, your data has to travel over the Internet, perhaps through the Internet firms that someone currently might be tapping. Cloud services are great - but they are typically less safe than installing on your own server.

Of course, if you install on your own server and login from another place, perhaps from your home, the same weakness applies; your data travels - and thus it might be observed by someone else. But in this case it's only some data - and the relevant point is that whoever installs Incentive can choose their own level of security.

Some data is more critical than other data; social business data is in general considered business critical by most companies. We believe that it's really up to the customer to decide what level of security should apply to their Incentive installation, and that is why we offer a choice to install either behind your own firewall or in the cloud.

And believe me, many IT-departments thank us for that choice.