1. Edward Snowden
Each year CRN selects an individual whose actions have had the biggest impact on the channel and the technology industry at large. That individual usually is hard at work within the channel ecosystem—a vendor executive, a solution provider, a technology innovator. But this year no one person has rattled the tech market, its vendors, vendors' partners, and business owners more than Edward Snowden. The controversial former government contractor at the NSA ignited a firestorm with a stream of leaked NSA documents, ensnaring major U.S. technology providers along the way as part of a global surveillance dragnet.
Regardless of one's views on Snowden, the documents he leaked have forced Congress to rein in the government's surveillance activities, prompted business owners to consider stronger measures for data protection and control, and revealed the amount of contextual data employees and consumers are leaking to service providers.
The documents may have helped educate business owners on data protection in the short term, but could have significant longer-term implications on business growth for U.S. technology firms operating in certain countries, said Dean Drako, president and CEO of cloud-based video surveillance management platform Eagle Eye Networks. "Large infrastructure vendors already are bracing for negative fallout that complicates international growth in some regions."
The cloud industry could lose billions over the next three years as a result of the leaks, but the impact could be far broader, according to a report issued in July by The New America Foundation's Open Technology Institute. The report found the NSA disclosures put a variety of U.S. companies at risk of being excluded from proposal requests. New data privacy rules and other restrictions could slow the growth of the U.S. technology services industry by as much as 4 percent, the report found.