Where is ‘The Cloud’ and Is It Secure?

cloudIn days gone by, when people referred to ‘the cloud’ they meant the actual fluffy or grey clouds in the sky above them. Now, however, discussion of the cloud is most likely to be related to the world of technology.

But, even though many of us use and talk about ‘the cloud’, how many really understand what it means? Let’s take a look at a few details that can help explain exactly what it is you’re doing, using and talking about

What and Where is the Cloud?

The cloud, in cloud computing is an easy and very usable way of storing, saving and accessing your files from any device wherever you are in the world. But, while the name ‘cloud’ conjurs up images of white or grey fluffy tings above your head, the reality is very different.

That’s because the cloud, where your data is stored, is a physical thing. Or, more specifically, a collection of physical devices. When you save a file to your cloud – via whichever company you’re using – it will be saved on a server, probably in a warehouse, somewhere in the world.

Businesses selling cloud storage will have sourced the best servers at the lowest price. They will then use the most suitable warehouse storage they can find, where ever in the world that may be. Even if you ask the helpdesk where the servers are, they may not tell you – or be able to tell you. But, one of the most important details, from your perspective, is that you can store all the files and data you need to and access them whenever and where ever, you want.

Data Security

When it comes to data, there isn’t really an option of 100% security. Any data you have stored on your computer’s hard drive at home is safe – until someone gets hold of your PC or laptop and works out your passwords. Of course, it’s not that easy and to access that data, you would need to:

  • Get into your home.
  • Unlock the door with the computer.
  • Know your passwords.

But, when you store data on a cloud, the very nature of the beast is that it is on a server that can be accessed from any device, anywhere in the world. Of course, all your data is secured with your own, personal passwords and in some cases your own, additional encryption methods too. But, if a member of staff were to prove untrustworthy, the data relating to your security process could be used by an unscrupulous third party.

However, companies that offer a cloud storage service are constantly upgrading their security – often at the behest of customer requirements. Encryption is an excellent cloud storage security as is ‘sharding’, where a company breaks data into blocks and encrypts each block separately. That way, if someone does get access to the cloud, the block or blocks of data they are able to unlock will likely be random and not be much use.

Not all cloud storage companies offer that level of security though, so do your homework and find one whose security measures satisfy your needs. But, where a cloud storage company does have excellent levels of security and is constantly working on upgrading them your data is as safe there as it is almost anywhere.

One example of how secure cloud storage can be is Amazon – they run their entire operation on their own data storage cloud. That’s a lot of financial data and zero instances of security problems. Done properly, cloud storage can be the safest place for your data.

This contribution came from Justin of SuperGeek.com.au.

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