Tuesday, 31 May 2011

Cumbersome Cloud Computing

Apple will kick off the Worldwide Developers Conference in San Francisco (June 6 - 10) with presenting its cloud-based service, iCloud. The iCloud promises to be a gigantic step towards web 3.0, 'where everything is everywhere'. (I'm quoting myself here.) Basically, their new service will make it possible to upload, download, manage, edit, save, and share your files from anywhere with any kind of device on any which platform or network. This raises the obvious question: what about safety?

There are two kinds of risks in putting your data online. One is that you can never be entirely sure who has access to your information. The other risk is that your data can only be reached when you are logged on to the Internet or have access to a mobile network. These two risks should be no secret for users of the 100% Web-based word-processing tool Google Docs.

Still, what happens when software malfunctions only to leave your data unprotected, open for anyone to use for malpractices? I read an article on businessweek.com that addressed this risk: Google recently notified its users that a software glitch had allowed some subscribers unauthorized access to "a very small percentage" of these documents, which are stored on Google's servers. Can you image what would happen, if this gremlin, happens to raise havoc in a service where military data, or private financial data is stored? The damage could be sky high.

Codes...more codes
In general, cloud services (will) encrypt your data for safety purposed.  Only to be decrypted by the owner who is sentenced to a lifetime of using annoying but necessary passwords and safety codes. When working for a large financial I had to use multiple decoders to get the right logon data to reach other data that gave me acces to yet another batch of data that told me where I could find the data I was looking for. Confused? I was, the first month…after a while though, you get used to it.

Anyway, after reading up on encryption methods, and forgetting about Frank Sch√§tzing’s novel ‘Limit’, in which criminals use encrypted data that are encrypted in haphazardly chosen every day emails, I understand that encryption of data while it is uploaded and while stored somewhere in the cloud is the safest way of managing data in a cloud.

Cloud Computing is a-social
It’s interesting to read that the risk of data theft from clouds gets bigger the more social a cloud gets. Wasn’t web 3.0 all about sharing? The more open a service is, the more risk you run in getting mugged digitally. Using cloud services that offer sharing cause even more security risks.

So why go entirely web based? Well, life’s a risk, if you live it cautiously every second of a day, it’s not much fun. The same goes for using the web. I know, it’s a lame excuse to deal with a serious issue, but I can’t come up with a better one.

Norman Bates
In addition, I am convinced that combining things is the best way to live your life, whether nonline or online. From my point of view that means throw everything online, with the exception of information that could seriously harm you in any possible way if fallen into the wrong hands. That kind of information, you keep in your ancient digital sock, or under your old mistress saved on a prehistoric, but fully functional hard drive, or you could stash it away in the coal cellar just like Norman Bates did with his deceased mother…. hh...sometimes life can be so simple….

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