I recently spoke at the Crypto Summit in Washington, DC about the companies that build the Internet and how they’re changing in the wake of knowledge that the NSA is engaged in extensive surveillance. As I explained in my talk, most people don’t really understand how the Internet gets built. They usually assume that it’s something AT&T and other big telecommunication companies created, which is now used by a few big companies like Microsoft, Google, and Facebook.
In reality, much of the Internet’s infrastructure has been built by companies like ServInt. They’re mostly small to medium businesses, some started in garages (or college dorm rooms, like ServInt was back in 1995). Estimates say there could be about 35,000 of these companies in the United States alone, with 60,000 active globally.
We were able to build the Internet because there was a low regulatory burden. If you had a dream, you could start your small business and grow it into a pillar of the Web. That kind of environment is great for many reasons, one of which is it breeds heavy competition which is the key driver of innovation. ServInt was one of the first companies to offer the Dedicated Server and then the VPS, and have consistently been innovators in the realm of managed hosting; we were pioneers and now there are dozens of companies that offer similar services.
With incidents like the NSA’s widespread surveillance or iCloud’s hacking, the Cloud itself has taken a credibility hit. Those of us who provide the Internet’s Cloud infrastructure are responding in various ways. Some are being transparent and updating their privacy policies, others are embracing their role in the encryption economy.
The same environment of the early Internet — small business driven, competitive, innovation-centric — is on the very of taking encryption to the next level. We’re making it more pervasive and — most importantly — easy to use. ServInt is focused on how it can have rock solid security and privacy processes, but we are also keeping a close eye on exciting innovations including technologies that encrypt the DNS process, and tools that make it far easier to send and receive encrypted email.
These solutions are market-driven. Since they’re being created in the exact same petri dish that brought you the innovation of the entire Internet, only the best, most trusted will survive. It will make you safer, more secure, and more private.
Photo by US Army Corps of Engineers.