Cloud Computing is the new buzzword. It's hip, it's "cool", it has many advantages, cost benefits, flexibility and might even lead to a truly paperless future. True. But there are risks as well. Here's how to benefit from the Cloud while ensuring protection and confidentiality of data.
Step 1: Ensure Accessibility. Cloud computing is still in its infancy. There are instances of clouds crashing, leaving their clients without access to their files, or worse still, completely unprotected for hours because of errors. Therefore, it is advisable not to trust cloud services completely. Keep on saving your most vital and confidential documents, records, projects and works-in-progress in your personal laptop or desktop.
Step 2: Secure Your Data. Any computer can malfunction without warning. Build yourself a three-part rescue kit. The first part consists of your installation DVD/CD set for your O/S and drivers. The second part is an ISO image of the entire contents of your computer burned to DVD and updated regularly. The third part of the kit is a regularly updated back-up, on CDs or DVDs, of your personal documents and files. Put each set of CDs and DVDs in a separate envelope, mark the envelopes clearly, place the three envelopes inside a box and lock it in a safe place.
Step 3: Manage your Cloud accounts well to avoid data lapses. Data is very valuable to thieves. Information is absolutely priceless, and identity theft is a very real and growing threat.
Step 4: Ensure safe data traffic to and from the Cloud. Data stealing malware is rife, and many baddies come riding in on "easy" "quick" and "instant" downloads. Set your security software to scan all downloads before permitting them to open. Check to see that your Endpoint Protection is doing a good job for you.
- It is far better to retain your most confidential records in your own personal computer, well away from the cloud, with CD/DVD backups. If the cloud crashes everyone goes down. If a desktop or laptop crashes, only one person is affected, and a well-maintained rescue kit can restore damaged files quickly.
- Don't rely too much on the cloud for video streaming ... d.p.s. rates are VERY slow.
- Seek ways to deal with cloud computing more safely. A personal cloud for each corporate entity or family business running its own Cloud Operating System (COS) is now considered an alternative to a personal computer.
When you begin cloud computing, those who own the cloud know a lot about you. How might this information be used in future? Will they decide that it is alright to share some or all of it with websites they have close business ties with? Will they be forced to - or choose to - share personal data with government agencies? These are some of the issues to be considered while deciding how much information you can safely trust to cloud computing.