Server Security

Why the Clinton Email Scandal is Good for the Internet

Home-brew servers are in the news, hallelujah!

The recent revelations about Hillary Clinton using personal email for government communication during her tenure at the State Department has highlighted the glaring security holes in DIY server hosting.

There’s nothing political about being excited that the world can now see that hosting something at home is far less secure than working with professionals. For years ServInt has been trying to dispel the myth that DIY hosting is secure or private.

You wouldn’t believe how many bad security decisions we see get made every day in the name of controlling one’s own infrastructure. I’ve seen doctors’ offices keep their patient records in a computer underneath a receptionist desk because they don’t trust the Cloud. I’ve seen businesses store their intellectual property in their building IT closets. I’ve talked to women’s shelters who keep everything local, for fear that their incredibly sensitive data might be shared with the rest of the world without their knowledge. I understand the desires of each of these organizations, and why they decided that being able to touch it makes it seem more safe and secure. The problem is that they are wrong, dangerously so.

To be in this business, you need to understand — I mean really understand — privacy and security. Part of that is physical. At ServInt our data centers have biometric security and 24/7 on-site surveillance and monitoring. We also have network security professionals who build and constantly test our systems to maintain their integrity. We’ve got people working on the changing security landscape on a daily basis. Nobody running a home-brew server has that luxury. If you’ve got a server sitting at the end of your broadband line at your home or business – even if it has a firewall sitting in front of it, there’s no way it’s more secure than it is in a facility like ServInt’s.

Another part of being privacy and security experts is personal – knowing how to handle data from a process perspective. At ServInt we have highly responsible, trained individuals in charge of your data, with access to it only on a ’need to know’ basis. Even more importantly, our staff is trained to engage with law enforcement and demand due process of law in the rare event that data is requested. We are legally compliant, but put the rights of our clients first.

At the end of the day, if you’re sending email you’ll always have some security risk of that email getting out. If you want to do something about that, really the only solution is point-to-point encryption of your email. (Want to send me encrypted email? Here’s how.

PGP: E955B71C
Fingerprint: 3BD3 A427 9F5E 0D86 E79D 4EB5 6AF5 3518 E955 B71C

Comparing a home-brew server solution at your house to a solution like ServInt is no contest. Our ability to ensure the privacy and security of customer data trumps what you can do solo any day of the week. Secretary Clinton should have considered a ServInt Cloud VPS – a far more sensible choice if you ask me.

Photo by Richard Jeffries

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  • The New York Times
  • The Hill
  • Bloomberg
  • The Seattle Times
  • Computer World
  • Ars Technica
  • MSNBC