Thursday, July 8, 2010

Cloud Computing: A Matter of Trust, Security

It sounds like a great thing – using programs and storing files in the internet “cloud.” It would allow you to work on files and access files and photos anywhere and from any device that can access the Internet. Many people – including me – are already using the cloud for email when using email services like Gmail, Yahoo, Hotmail, etc. I’ve been using those services for years, and with the exception of the occasional (rare) email outage, they are all great services, keeping my own hard drive unclogged from the hundreds of emails that I get daily. you really trust someone with your sensitive files, or want someone to have access to all your photos? Do you want to have access to your files being controlled by someone other than yourself? Not me. I don’t have the trust that these systems are 100% secure and that my photos will not end up being indexed in someone’s search engine, or that someone may hack into my account and grab my photos and use them for profit. I also have a concern that once I would move things to the cloud, somewhere the ISPs would find a way to make money off the fact that I have to use the Internet to get my files, and start charging users more based on Internet usage (yes, some ISPs have kicked around the idea of charging more for heavy users, just like in the early days of the Internet).

With the amount of computer viruses, trojans, malware, and hackers out there, it would only be a matter of time before someone found a way to compromise the security for files stored in the cloud. Imagine if you stored all your photos in the cloud and someone hacked into your account and deleted all your precious photos? It would be as if someone robbed you of all your memories.

Call me a control freak, but for personal documents, photos, and other files such as music, I prefer to have complete control over my data, at least for now. Cloud computing is great for email, especially if confidentiality is not an issue and if you have a decent password that would be difficult to hack. But for your precious files and photos, it may be better to keep them grounded on your own computer.

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