Is the Cloud Safe?
By Leo Notenboom
With security compromises happening at what seems a regular pace, many people are wondering if they should be using ‘the Cloud’ at all. My take? It’s as safe as you make it, and you’ve already been using it a lot longer than you realize.
One of the comments that I received recently to my article on lessons learned from a recent and fairly public online hacking was very concise:
“That’s why the Cloud is dangerous.”
That actually sums up what I think a lot of people are starting to feel to varying degrees.
And I think it’s wrong.
I also think believing so prevents you from taking advantage of the things that the cloud can do for you. Things like protecting your data.
As well as things you’ve already been doing. For years.
What Is “the Cloud”?
“The Cloud is nothing more than services you use that are provided online over the internet.”
I have to start by throwing away this silly, silly marketing term “the Cloud.” It’s nothing more than a fancy marketing term. Ultimately, it really has no real meaning.
The cloud is nothing more than services you use that are provided online over the internet.
Seriously, that’s all it is.
Be it services that provide a place to store your data, services that enable you to communicate with others, services that provide applications, services that sell you things or services that answer your technical questions – it’s all happening in the Cloud.
And that’s nothing new.
The Cloud is new in name only
Online services are nothing new.
You’ve probably been using online services long before anyone ever thought to slap the name Cloud on ‘em.
Have email? It gets from point “A” to point “B” through … the Cloud.
Have an online email account like Hotmail or Gmail? You’re keeping your email in the Cloud.
Upload pictures to a photo sharing site like Flickr, Picassa, or Photobucket? That’s the Cloud.
Use an online backup service? You’ve been backing up to the Cloud.
Hopefully, you get the idea.
I really, really want to drive home the point that this thing people are calling the Cloud is nothing new, and you’ve been using it already – probably for years – and almost certainly before that silly name was attached to it.
So let’s jettison the name and all the baggage that seems to come with it, and call this what it really is: online services.
This post is excerpted with permission from Leo Notenboom.
About Leo Notenboom
Leo A. Notenboom is the owner of Puget Sound Software, LLC and the Leo in Ask Leo!. Leo has been in the personal computer and software industry since 1979, as a software engineer, a manager of software engineers, and as a consultant. In 1983 Leo joined what was then a medium sized local company called Microsoft and spent the next 18 years in a wide variety of groups working on a wide variety of software. If you're running Microsoft Windows, if you've used a Microsoft development tool or Microsoft Money, or if you've ever purchased a ticket through Expedia, there's a good chance you've been touched by some of his work. And of course, since 2003, Leo has been answering your tech questions on Ask Leo!