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In the News: Apple and Dropbox Snub AWS, Sony Hack New Insight

Mar 16

Posted March 27, 2016 by  Tim Pat Dufficy

Dropbox drops AWS Apple uses Google Cloud Storage Truth behind Sony hack
Across the web: Dropbox cuts ties with AWS, Apple pens a deal with the Google Cloud Platform, and the truth behind “shockingly lax” Sony’s 2014 hack is revealed.

Dropbox Drops AWS, Embraces Hybrid Cloud

In mid-March, Dropbox announced that it has set up its own data centre and will be running its chief storage platform internally, a move over two years in the making.

Previously Dropbox had relied on Amazon’s public cloud for the majority of its infrastructure, and it will still use AWS for some aspects of its business

Dropbox’s Vice President of Infrastructure, Akhil Gupta, gave its size and growth as a key reason for this move, since “the scale that [Dropbox is] operating on is one that very few other companies will get to”. With 500 petabytes of data stored, from 500 million users, Gupta has a point.

Another factor is control – by assuming full responsibility over Dropbox’s infrastructure, Gupta can customise that infrastructure and manage its reliability and performance, optimising user experience.

We expect that Dropbox are simply frontrunners in a coming increase in hybrid cloud adoption, as companies are stung by the surprisingly large costs that can be associated with a move to the public cloud and work to find their ideal, cost-effective hosting solution. It isn’t the right choice for everyone, but for many, a hybrid cloud environment is answer.  

Download our guide to scaling up your infrastructure for business growth.

What remains to be seen is whether Dropbox will provide an inspirational success story, and a driving force in a new hybrid era for mega-cloud companies, or another Zynga  – forced to return to public cloud with its tail between its legs.


Has Google Taken a Bite of Apple’s Cloud Business?

CRN reports that Google has recently received a boost to its aggressive growth plans for the Google Cloud Platform, thanks to a $400-600 million deal with Apple – one of AWS’s most significant customers.

The deal sees Google hosting parts of the iCloud cloud hosting service, including photo and email storage, as well as back-up services. According to CRN, a number of sources have claimed that this deal is partly down to Apple wishing to downgrade its reliance on major competitor Amazon.  

However, while neither Google nor Apple would confirm or deny the deal, an Amazon spokesperson suggested to CRN that they still have Apple’s business.  

It may be that Apple is just diversifying: reportedly Apple already uses Azure for some aspects of its hosting needs, and it may now simply be adding Google to its cloud mix.

Re/code notes that the speculation may all prove academic, since Apple has already revealed plans to build three huge data centres of its own and more are expected to follow. This suggests that, however Apple is currently managing its cloud hosting, the choice is a mere stopgap.   

“ABC, Sony’s passwords simple as 123”

In his new book “Dark Territory: The Secret History of Cyber War” Fred Kaplan reveals how Sony’s use of the “lamest passwords” facilitated the infamous DarkSeoul cyberattack of 2014.

Following the attack on Sony Pictures Entertainment, in which 100 terabytes of data were stolen and 3000 computers destroyed, the security experts hired to investigate discovered Sony’s dirty secret – appalling cyber security hygiene. They found key networks and servers were protected only with passwords as laughable as “ABCDE”, “12345” and that old classic, “password”. 

You might think Sony would have learned its lesson after previous hacks cost it around $170M and saw PSN (the Playstation network) shut down for more than three weeks and 25 million viewers of Sony Online Entertainment’s data stolen. But Sony’s many divisions tend to act autonomously and with little coordination – what one area learns is not necessarily cascaded throughout the conglomerate.

It’s a demonstration of the importance of strong passwords and the fact that no one is immune to security breaches. Sony’s staff might well have believed that no cyber-criminal would be interested in a movie studio’s data and records, but every organisation has something that could be worthwhile to someone.


If, like Dropbox, you are lucky enough to be growing at pace, then you may be struggling to ensure your infrastructure can meet the increased and evolving demands. Download our guide on scaling up without the growing pains to help you make the right decisions for your business.  

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Topics: Data Security Public Cloud Hybrid Cloud