Salesforce: Customers Hungry For Better Encryption After NSA Snooping

Tom Brewster is TechWeek Europe's Security Correspondent. He has also been named BT Information Security Journalist of the Year in 2012 and 2013.

Salesforce says it will deliver better, wider encryption services for customers concerned about the Edward Snowden leaks

Despite CEO Marc Benioff’s claim that Edward Snowden’s leaks on mass surveillance were “irrelevant” for Salesforce, another executive at the cloud giant has claimed customers were keen to see improved security in response to the explosive revelations.

Benioff told journalists at the company’s Dreamforce conference this week the leaks had not been a “a major issue”, saying the customer data Salesforce dealt with was not the kind the US government typically went after.

But Alex Dayon, president for applications and platform at Salesforce, told TechWeekEurope customers had been keen to see Salesforce take action to better protect their data from the prying eyes of US intelligence. It has promised to improve encryption to serve those customers’ needs.

Alex DayonSalesforce promises better encryption

“It’s obviously something that came much higher on everybody’s radar with the recent noise around PRISM and the NSA. Our customers in industries like healthcare and financial services in Europe are asking us to do more and more features around this area,” Dayon said.

“So we are improving the types of keys, the types of things you can encrypt… It’s a big topic so obviously it is our job to serve those requirements

“Now, [encryption] is something customers want to manage and to use on a larger scale so we will focus on that so you can encrypt almost any field.”

The Information Technology and Innovation Foundation (ITIF) claimed earlier this year that the US cloud industry could lose as much as $35 billion (£22.5b) over the next three years because of the claims of mass spying by the National Security Agency.

It has been alleged the NSA spied on links between the data centres of , and has been able to demand data of American companies with relative ease. As cloud relies on the trust of customers that vendors will keep their information private, many suspect the industry will see its rise tempered.

Salesforce has not seen any impact on its revenues, however, even whilst reports suggested Cisco, where Benioff sits on the board, was likely to take a hit thanks to Snowden’s leaks.

The cloud giant reported just over $1 billion in revenue for the last quarter, saying it expected to earn $5 billion next year.