Contributed by Jeffrey Sebranek
Technological innovation in the modern world is beginning to move at breakneck speed. Unending reams of data are being generated by technologies ranging widely from CRM, social media, medical and financial industry records, the Internet of Things, and a host of smartphones, tablets and mobile apps. All of this data must be securely transferred and stored in order to be put to its full use and of course to avoid its falling into the hands of unintended parties. As a result, cloud computing and storage has been mushrooming over the last decade with no signs of slowing down. Enterprises of all sorts are no longer sitting idly, wondering if migrating applications and data to the cloud is worth the risk, they are doing it anyway even though security remains a serious concern. Having exposed financial data, health information, trade secrets, and/or intellectual property can impact the health of an organization for years. In an effort to mitigate or even eliminate the numerous security threats inherent in cloud computing and storage, the innovative cloud computing company Cloud Constellation will soon launch satellite-based data centers with storage capacities measuring in the petabytes. Cloud Constellation is calling their storage network the Information Ultra-Highway or the Spacebelt1.
Cloud Constellation differentiates itself from the rest of the cloud computing world by providing a truly secure network that cannot be compromised. The Spacebelt purports to achieve this by completely insulating its network from the internet and all Earth-based leased lines. Through their independent satellite-based system, Spacebelt is able to offer greater security over all land-based data centers, which by nature are susceptible to hacking and national jurisdictional regulations. As one obvious security benefit, Spacebelt would be immune from terrestrial disaster such as earthquake, flood and tsunami as well as any unforeseen casus fortuitus events such as war, riot or other temporary civilizational breakdown. Additionally, according to Cloud Constellation CEO Scott Sobhani, the Spacebelt system will utilize hardware-assisted encryption, where any would-be network infiltrator would need an advanced Earth station simply to communicate with the satellites2. And clearly, this hardware isn’t readily available at your local Best Buy. This provides truly secure data transfer for enterprises and governments that would be enabled to bypass leaky networks and compromised terrestrial servers.
In addition to radically improved security, Cloud Constellation offers superior speed and performance. Spacebelt purports to transmit information from low-earth orbit to the ground in a quarter-second, and from one point on earth to any other in less than a second. This is an improvement over fiber-optic network speeds which can generally experience several seconds of end-to-end latency. This could prove a major selling point particularly for financial institutions looking to achieve reduced delays in information transfer.
Cloud Constellation has recently wrapped up its Series A funding round and plans to have satellites orbiting Earth as early as 2019. Vice Chairman and co-founder Hooshang Kaen enthusiastically sums up the expedient nature of the Spacebelt this way: “For enterprises with global operations, protection of mission-critical data is paramount. With this first round of funding in place, we are now looking to establish strategic partnerships with cloud service providers, memory systems suppliers, satellite capacity providers, spacecraft suppliers and VSAT network infrastructure providers. As we articulate our vision for a world of greater data security, we’re confident that many partners will join us. This highly innovative and sophisticated cloud network will enable enterprises and governments to move data around the world without exposure to cybersecurity threats. We’ve designed the system as a continuous global ring of interconnected data centers in space. Data never passes through any unintended jurisdictions, or into the wrong hands”3.