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Is the Cloud Safe?

Cloud computing has been heralded as the herald of the future. Considering the amount of data we already move everyday between mobile handsets, traditional computers, tablets and portable gaming devices, the only way to scale up the amount and speed of those data transfers are by storing them in a remote server and accessing them when necessary. The idea of the cloud has finally penetrated the mainstream, but critics are still unsure about how safe data is in the cloud.

There have been notable breaches of similar systems in recent memory: the hacking of the PlayStation Network a few years ago exposed millions of users’ data to unknown eyes. More recently, Zappos was hacked and 24 million accounts were compromised. On the one hand, these incidents are cautionary tales that remind us to always be mindful of sensitive information and where it’s stored. On the other hand, we’re rapidly moving toward a world where that information will have to be stored somewhere other than on our devices’ hard drives, and so security measures must be likewise advanced.

The question of whether the cloud is safe is difficult to answer with certainty, partly because it depends on whom you ask. A key point to understand is that every cloud service different, and each one has different security protocols.

It can be particularly nerve-racking for clients when two companies that don’t have a standard security protocol merger combine.

Such was the case last month when Rackspace, a leading provider of server hosting and cloud services, acquired Sharepoint911, a small but prolific group of ex-Microsoft Sharepoint consultants. The deal was borne out of Rackspace’s ongoing goal to become a market leader in Sharepoint implementation and a consultancy group (in addition to their seemingly endless other services).

The acquisition is a great deal for Rackspace because it’s another step on the road to expanding and dominating the market space they are in. But what about the consumer? Does the deal mean the haphazard trafficking of information back and forth through the ether, available to the wayward hacker who would have it?

Well, not really. In fact, snapping up Sharepoint911 helped customers, too. Absorbing the consulting firm gives Rackspace the expertise and know-how to address information breaches if they do happen. We can’t say for sure, but it’s reasonable to surmise that this will only be within the Sharepoint ecosystem.

Looking at the larger picture, it’s clear that cloud providers will likely install or train internal teams in cloud security measures so they can have the same level of expertise when cloud computing catches on with a firmer grip in the next five years.

Cloud providers can only sell their services if people trust those services are secure.

Therefore, heightened concern about security is forcing those providers to increase measures of safety even more than they already were. A successful attack on a cloud provider would be devastating in terms of compromised information, but potentially fatal for a business that may not be able to secure customers after a high profile breach.

So, is the cloud safe? Yes, but it’s not impenetrable. offshore centre As long as you keep your stored information limited to the songs in your music library, shareable documents and other general things, you’re all good. Just don’t go storing your credit card numbers, passwords or Doomsday codes in your iCloud account because as with everything else in the world, if someone wants it bad enough, they’ll get it.

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as always, be safe Online

Your Online Security Authority

Bill Wardell

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