The NSA Security Scandal: a Positive Opportunity for Security Vendors?

When news came out last month that the National Security Association could potentially access millions of customer phone records, Americans were understandably scared. That fear only increased after the former NSA technical contractor Edward Snowden leaked information on top-secret U.S. and British surveillance programs. Locked iPhones, firewall equipment and hosting company and personal data in highly encrypted clouds give us a false sense of security. We put complete trust in the IT department, without even stopping to consider whether someone out there is intent on doing harm with all of the personal and confidential information we readily give over. But the recent news has put data security to be top of mind for many Americans, causing us to start questioning “how secure are our security measures?”

First, let’s discuss what security means today. Take a minute and reflect on all of the personal information about you that exists on the Internet, your personal computer and on your mobile device. Now think of how you’re securing this information. Do you have a passcode on your phone? Is your Facebook page private? How about your Twitter account?

Now, think about your corporate data, your customer and client records, your employee information, your earnings statements, all of that data you use in your day-to-day work. Most of this mission-critical information is hosted by a cloud vendor or third-party that “touts” built-in security.

Once you start thinking about the possibilities, you’re likely to start wondering which security vendors actually provide the greatest security.

Gartner anticipates that the cloud-based security services market will reach $4.2 billion by 2016, as there is more of a demand for our data to be secured now than ever before. The NSA scandal exposed the fine line between privacy and security, and this provides an excellent opportunity for security vendors to demonstrate their superiority to a wider audience.

While we can do little about government interception and storage of our call logs and text messages, we can use the most advanced technology to protect our data from those who mean us harm, some of whom we may even know and trust. In fact, it’s likely that businesses will take an even closer look at employees, especially those with access to data and security technology. And many businesses will certainly be on the lookout for signs of employee disillusionment post-hiring.

What do you think of the NSA collecting personal information? Does it make you think twice about your personal and company data security? If so, you’re undoubtedly a future prospect for a security vendor – now it comes down to which one can prove they’ll provide the best protection.

Are you more worried now? If so, tell us in the comments below!

Gaby is an account executive at Greenough. Follow her on Twitter: @Gabyberk