There is constant talk about ‘the cloud’ and how everyone should be using it to store their files. However, personally I am not that sure that everyone knows what cloud computing is exactly. I tend to have a similar feeling when I present a marketing report and talk about SEO (search engine optimisation) or PPC (pay-per-click) seeing many colleagues nodding away with a distant glazed look in their eyes.
It is probably best therefore that I try and make everyone feel at ease about cloud computing, and make you aware that you have probably been using it for years already with little or no problem.
The definition via Wikipedia is the following:
“In computer networking, cloud computing is a phrase used to describe a variety of computing concepts that involve a large number of computers connected through a real-time communication network such as the Internet. It is very similar to the concept of utility computing. In science, cloud computing is a synonym for distributed computing over a network, and means the ability to run a program or application on many connected computers at the same time.”
Personally I’m not sure that helped, so why don’t we go with this written simply by our Sales Director Charlie:
‘Cloud computing’ in simple terms is computing services provided through the internet such as Facebook, Hotmail, Google, Flickr or Dropbox to name just a few examples.
So hopefully you now have a better understanding of what cloud computing is and have realised that you use it on a regular if not daily basis. Very simple really isn’t it.
So if you have been using a Hotmail, Yahoo or Gmail email account for years then you have also been using the cloud for years. All the emails that you save and send are located in highly secure data centres located around the world. Is it really safe though? How is your data protected?
There are two things that we need to consider when looking at the safety of cloud storage: (Is the cloud safe?)
- Human input
- The company you chose to use
In relation to the first point: Most cloud services are accessed with a human user entering a password. This password is the first way of increasing the security of your data. Passwords can be hacked, so make it secure from dictionary and brute force attacks (this means not using common words, and changing your password on a regular basis) that hackers use. Never give your password out to another person and don’t use the same password for all your different sites that you use.
Point number two: Make sure that the service that you use is encrypting the data when it is being transferred back and fourth. Most services these days will have this in place, but look for sites that use HTTPS:// rather than just HTTP:// or if you use an App that uploads and downloads the data check that they do use encryption during this process.
Make sure that the service you pick uses multiple-level redundancy across multiple geographic locations. This means that there is more than one copy of your data in various locations should a disaster strike and a server or disk failure take place.
Look up news on the provider being hacked. If they have been recently there will be news on it as data breaches tend to hit the headlines. Providers are constantly improving their security, but occasionally there are ways past the defences that hackers like to find.
There will always be hackers out there trying to get access to cloud storage facilities, if you have taken every precaution you can then your data is as safe as it can be, and just as safe as having it backed-up at your home where you could get burgled.
So is the cloud safe? We believe so, yes.
If your business needs any further information on the cloud then drop a call to our team on 0208 232 1190 or drop us an e-mail and we’ll be happy to offer our help.