Is the Cloud Safe?

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.

Read the rest of the story here..

This post is excerpted with permission from Leo Notenboom.

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12 thoughts on “Is the Cloud Safe?

  1. Thanks a lot for demistifying the marketing term ‘cloud’. We have all be using the cloud. I agree with you in totality. It is not dangerous!! For the fact that planes crash and kill everyone onboard does not stop people from flying!!!.
    Let us be careful and security conscious. Banks have been duped and peoples money lost in the past. This did not stop people from keeping their money in the bank. The bank is equally a cloud because from the comfort of your home you make financial transactions – epayment. If we cannot trust our documents into the hands of someone in the cloud, why must you keep your money in the bank or why should you invest your money in investment companies? The cloud is my e-portfolio. I have suffered hard disk (external and internal) crashes whn I lost all my data and I know how good and important to keep documents in the cloud.

  2. Properly encrypted huh? Ok Mastercard was properly encrypted and they still found a way in. I have a close friend that is working with the US Treasury right now as he found a small crack in the infamous direct deposit that is suppose to be hack proof, but it isnt.

    And you want us to put information into a system that is not and cannot be iron clad? Are you really that serious or are you pulling our legs here?

    • @Dan: so far SSL has not been broken. There are right ways and wrong ways to do things even then there is some risk. We all know that. The important thing is how a company responds. For example lastpass has not been broken into but they saw something strange. The stored data was not at risk, but they made everyone change their passwords just in case. The crooks are clever and are making billions that’s a big motivation. But good security still works (and if the crooks find a hole you patch it before damage is done and do the right things) we are getting better at security

      • @Dave: What world are you living in??Mastercard has SSL and digital encryption and they were broke into. Same for the US Department of Defense and the Department of Justice. IN fact there is a row going on in England about if they should send the hacker over here to face charges. The simple rule of thumb bud, is in computers “ANY Website can be hacked and ANY program can be hacked given enough time and computing power.” My cousin Dave is a “white hat” hacker and by accident, came across a way to defeat the direct deposit…and that is suppose to be ssl and digital encoded. I mean my God man, all you have to do is a simple google search and you can see that the SSL HAS been cracked and hacked and this was reported in in September of 2011! And please dont try and tell us that the stored data isnt at risk as the only way it is completely safe is by placing it on a HD that cannot connect to the net. ANYONE that has had a computer for more then 20 minutes knows this and when I told the other coders and programmers at MS what you said, you became the laughing joke of the week. Honestly Dave, if you really believe the flop you posted here, you really need to take apart and place your computer in it’s boxes and take it back to where you bought it and demand a refund. Either that or place a sign in front of your house/apartment and tell the world that you dont know how to use a computer.

  3. The Cloud eh,what a silly name all you are doing is storing your private files etc on somebody else’s server,no thank you I just wouldn’t trust it.
    The safest way of storing your files is either on your own hard drive or external disk or CD rom etc.
    At least you know where it is and no one has any chance of accessing it.
    Why would anyone trust their data on an anonymous server located who knows where and run by who knows who????

    • @Robin Window: if its done right they dont have your password and cant get it. your data is stored as a useless blob unless you have they password which they dont have. hard drives and disk fail or are in fires, floods. it’s a good backup plan to be used with your hard drive and disk. and what about online shopping, banking , email and everything else done online it’s all done on somebody’ server

  4. TechTV’s Leo Laporte and Steve Gibson(Gibson research corp) have recorded at least two podcast on cloud storage safety(many popular company’s such as drop box). the important thing is nobody should have your password(the people who provide the service). and it should be properly encrypted.

    • @dave: You mean the ones that I can find freely available on the net with just a simple google search? You mean THOSE podcasts that were placed in this “cloud” Are you really that serious or are you only parroting what other obtuse people have told you?

      • @Dan: these people who made the podcast are the same people who were on the ground floor of the creation of the internet. They are experts in computers, the internet and security. They are honest and dedicated. They tell the flaws and mistakes they find theirs or others. Steve Gibson coined the word spyware and created ad-aware. He then gave it away for free, as long as the people who took it over agreed there would always be a free version for the public. You should listen to them before you judge. There podcast is not just in the cloud its an internet security podcast that has not missed a signal week in over five years. You can find transcripts and back episodes if you Google them. If you do listen you will learn the internet, computers and security. Many experts as well as novices listen to them

        • @Dave: I have to wonder just WHERE you are getting all this incorrect information from. The Internet was made by the US Military in the 1950’s as a way to keep in contact with the front lines in a faster way. The people that made the pod cast were not even out of diapers when the internet first came into being so dont even go there with that flop. And before you try and say anything about the date of the internet, My brother was in charge of Communications of his unit and was using the internet way back in the 1960’s! I was coding and writing programs for IBM back in the early 1970’s when a home computer cost you darn near $8000.00 and all the B Boards you called, even if they were right across the street, was a long distance call and the fastest speed was 2400 baud. To put it in terms you can understand, that means it would take over 2 weeks 24/7 to download a simple 2mb song if MP3s had been available then. And forget on where to store it as the biggest hard drive was 500kb! And I have to again ask where you are getting your fake info from? Keylogging has been around since the late 1970’s…LONG before Steve Gibson was out of Grade school! So yet again you have no idea what your talking about, and just parroting lies told to you by uninformed people. I have listened to you and have judged you ignorant in all the things you have said and posted here. I have been doing this “computer thing” since 1971, long before you were a twinkle in your mothers eye and long before Gibson ever heard of computers or the internet. So before you go and post some other ignorant thing and expect people to accept it as fact, make SURE you know what the heck your talking about as I have forgot more things about computers then Gibson and you combined as you seemingly do pick up a few things alone a 41 year history in dealing with computers and writing code for them. Jeeze, and people wonder why n00bs are made the butts of jokes. You are a prime example.

  5. This article seems aimed completely towards home users and their personal information. Fair enough.
    What about cloud based systems for business? Do you have a gut feeling for the safety and backup of business information through cloud based programs? Statistics would have carried a little more weight than gut feelings for me.

  6. My take. Assume everything in the cloud is public domain. Mail goes over internet in any case. Photos etc, who cares and who is really interested? Serious data? Trust only your own little island. It’s hard enough to keep your own network secure, and with targeted attacks, SPs must be vulnerable.

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