An End User’s Cloud Security Question

I recently received an email with a question about the security of cloud computing environments.  The question comes from a knowledgeable user and boils down to ‘Isn’t my data safer on my systems?’  I thought this would be a great question to open up to the wider community.  Does anyone have any thoughts or feedback for ‘Gramps’ question below?

Joe, I’m not a college grad, but a 70 yr old grandfather, that began programming on a Color Computer using an audio tape recorder for storage.  I’ve written some corporate code for Owens Corning Fiberglas before I retired, so I’ve been around the keyboard for a while. <grin>  To make a point, notice how you’ve told me what your email address is, on your blog (see the about page.)  Hackers, and scammers are so efficient, you and I can’t even put our actual email out there.  Now, You are in high gear with putting almost your heart and soul on servers that can be anywhere on the planet… even where there are little or no laws (enforced) governing data piracy.  Joe, I’m not trying to pick a fight, no need to, but look at the Wikileaks > etc.  I guess I could cope with using cloud software for doing my things… but can you tell me you are willing to even leave your emails or data files out there too? Somehow, I just feel a whole lot safer having my critical stuff on my flash drive… Talk to me buddy… 

Jim ‘Gramps’ , Hillsboro OH

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Comments

  1. Dave Rollins says:

    The first thing to get past, at least in a corporate setting, is that it is not your data; it is the property of the company you work for. It’s in their best interest to have as much control over it as possible. No matter what Microsoft says, the “cloud” does not automatically imply external (public facing). I can have an internal cloud protected by the same security measures as my physical/virtual infrastructure with no access to the outside world. What happens in the case of your laptop being stolen and all your company’s proprietary and confidential gets compromised? At least in a cloud infrastructure, the company is responsible for securing its data, not you.

    Now from a personal perspective, I’m probably as paranoid as “Gramps”. I keep personal and business related materials in external based clouds (dropbox, photobucket), but they are definitely documents that are not confidential or photos I would care if the world saw. In these instances you are sacrificing security for convenience. I can access these documents or photos from any place or any device, but there is always the risk of them falling into the hands of someone I don’t know. At the same time, there is always the risk someone could hack into my home wireless network and take documents stored on my local devices. One wrong click on an email or a website could install malware on your local devices and open the door for someone to steal documents or photos stored locally. In the end, it’s still about using common sense when choosing to secure your data. I’m obviously not going to put a list of passwords and accounts up on dropbox, but some work related presentations so I don’t have to haul around multiple devices? Absolutely.

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  2. Dave,

    Great feedback, thanks!

    Joe

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