Cloud Computing: Do You Want So Much Data Online?

Cloud computing has enormous potential, and is already changing the way that we think about the Internet. For those involved in web design, in particular, the ability to access shared resources and software applications on demand is incredibly enticing. Offering access to up-to-the-minute applications and packages on a pay-as-you-go basis, the Cloud model’s ability to provide that access without the need for capital expenditure is one of its most attractive features.

The ability to access and work on files irrespective of where you are and what device you’re using is also hugely appealing. Not only does it mean you can work from anywhere and on any web-enabled device, but also that if your computer dies your data won’t be lost.

But Cloud computing isn’t trouble free. Criticised for not being sufficiently secure, it begs the question of whether you want all your data stored “in the Cloud”.

Companies hosting Cloud services can easily monitor all the data they store, and third parties providing services to them have access to the data, too. This raises obvious concerns about privacy and security, especially for those who handle data protected by legislation – and for any business or individual with information and trade secrets that need protection.

To minimise the risks, educate yourself about privacy controls and levels of security available from Cloud providers. You should also enhance the security and privacy of your own data by educating yourself about appropriate security measures, and by choosing effective passwords.

Some security experts argue that shifting to Cloud computing will lead to better security, with opportunities to develop more rigorous controls and higher standards to ensure service providers offer a secure service. It remains to be seen whether this will happen, but hopes are high – although obviously just about any system that’s have you beenhacked has initially been believed to be impenetrable!