With the rise in popularity of cloud-based applications and data storage, you may be wondering where and how information is actually stored. Or you may be wondering what exactly the cloud is, and how secure it is for storing and sending information.
Cloud computing refers to the network of computers used by companies to store and transfer users’ data as a service. A typical cloud storage system includes a master control server that connects to both the client computers (i.e. you) and usually a network of several database storage servers.
The advantages of cloud storage include being able to access your data anywhere at any time and never having to worry about running out of space on your own device. You don’t need to carry a physical storage device with you (like a laptop or a removable hard drive) – your data is accessible from any device and location with internet access. And with the growing amount of data in the world that is being created, shared, and stored across the internet, this is a real plus for individuals and businesses alike.
There are risks involved with cloud applications and storage however. While not all providers share the same level of vulnerability, there is an inherent risk of both corruption and data loss, as well as data theft, whenever you give your data to a third-party. All of the data (i.e. YOUR data) is stored on hard drive arrays in servers that are susceptible to many of the same faults as the storage in your laptop or desktop computer.
Additionally, depending of which provider you use, the data centre could be based in a different country, or possibly even a different continent. Some of the larger cloud providers have several data centres which could be spaced apart from one another across several different locations.
But do you really need to concern yourself with these details? Particularly if your only cloud accounts are social media ones? A few days ago, an Austrian privacy activist was mailed a CD-ROM containing a 1,222 page document when he requested to see his personal data that Facebook stored on its servers. That file, which would stretch nearly a quarter of a mile if printed and laid end-to-end, offered a glimpse into Facebook's appetite for the private details of its 1.65 billion users.
According to the BBC, the information included phone numbers and email addresses of Mr Schrems' friends and family; a history of all the devices he used to log in to the service; all the events he had been invited to; everyone he had "friended" (and subsequently de-friended); and an archive of his private messages.
It even included transcripts of messages he had deleted!
The cloud has undoubtedly transformed the speed and ease of which we are able to work and collaborate, particularly across devices and different locations—but it is not without risks. Cloud solutions come in many shapes and sizes - so if you are not sure which one to go with, ask an IT expert. They will be able to help you navigate the sea of options and find the one best for you.
Need an IT expert? BTA is a managed services provider offering a wide range of cloud solutions to meet virtually any business need. Call 020 8875 7676 today and an experienced IT expert will be in touch to discuss your unique requirements. Or click the link below to find out why you should choose BTA as your manged service provider.