One of the things that’s been a petty annoyance for me professionally over recent years is all the hype about Cloud services. Things like Amazon Web Services, Dropbox, Google Docs and Microsoft OneDrive. There have been pages and pages written about this new wonderful thing called the cloud, how it’ll revolutionise our lives, but at the end of the day, it’s your data on someone else’s machine. That’s it!
The only major difference I can see between services like the ones I named above and other remote services is scale. But the issues are the same. Where is the data held, who has access to it, how is it deleted when you don’t want it any more, how secure is that deletion.
Nearly 20 years ago there was a lot of hype about “e-business’, i.e. trading and doing business online. Nowadays (as I predicted back then) we don’t bother with the e- prefix, it’s all just business. [Though many companies are finding out that without the e- portion to their business, they struggle to stay afloat.]
The Cloud is no different. It’s the latest and greatest, a buzzword used to make business sexy, but at the end of the day you’re just renting out space on some machines that someone else owns. So you better believe it’s down to you to make sure it’s secure. The big providers have all sorts of physical security (fences, guards, access controls etc) and IT security (redundant disks and power supplies, industrial scale UPS etc) but if you want the data encrypted, or backed up securely etc then you need to sort that yourself.
We’re going to see it more and more, and it’ll become a de facto standard, but please just remember it’s nothing special!