Trusting your Data to the Cloud…

The article What to Entrust to the Cloud by Businessweek has introduced some valid points about Cloud Computing. First, if you are unfamiliar with Cloud Computing, lets cover that very quickly! Cloud computing is called this because it refers to resources available on the Internet, in a type of allusive environment that is not tangible per say. Resources are provided as a service over the Internet (think Flickr, Facebook, Google Docs etc). Users do not necessarily have control over the technology infrastructure “in the cloud” that supports them, but are free to use them at any time.

The concept incorporates infrastructure as a service (IaaS), platform as a service (PaaS) and software as a service (SaaS) as well as Web 2.0 and other recent (ca. 2007–2009) technology trends that have the common theme of reliance on the Internet for satisfying the computing needs of the users. Cloud computing services usually provide common business applications online that are accessed from a web browser, while the software and data are stored on the servers. (source: Wikipedia)

While all of this sounds great, shouldn’t we be concerned that there is so much information available out in the Cloud? Businessweek has said point blank that Cloud Computing is safe if you “exercise reasonable care”. Keep in mind that reasonable care means realizing who may have access to the information that you are putting out there. The second concern is that these resources are only available with a live Internet connection!

To most users the first concern is the greatest, once your information leaves your network safety, it can be accessible by anyone if not properly secured. Recently Google let users know that due to a security glitch a small portion of documents were available for a short period of time. What if that short period of time included your company’s private information? A great solution to all of this is to think before committing data out in the Cloud. If you are unsure if your financials or payroll information is private, just think about what could happen if someone was able to access it? These items are probably best kept on an encrypted hard drive that is backed up.

“Ultimately, putting your data in the cloud involves choosing convenience and productivity at the cost of some security risk. In the real world, convenience always wins, and there’s nothing wrong with that. What’s is important is that you understand the dangers.” (source Businessweek)

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