Cloud computing technology is not new, it has been around for a long time. To avoid getting lost in too technical terms, describe cloud computing as hosting networks, servers, applications and information storage outside physical locations known to the user. We often talk about cloud computing or virtual computing. Basically, for a company, it is renting servers elsewhere rather than owning them. This technology makes it possible, for example, to host your website in India, or on a Pacific island.
It has become possible thanks to the appearance of very powerful equipment that has lowered the price of storage and accommodation. In comparison, 1 GB of space in 2000 was the same as 1000 GB (1 terabyte) today.
What’s the difference for us, poor fisherman?
Without our choosing, most of our personal information is kept in the cloud. Take the example of e-mail services. Our privacy no longer resides on the hard drive of our computer; it is stored somewhere on a server in Asia. And most often, we do not even have a copy. 99% of Internet users do not keep any copy of their email on their hard drive.
How many people also place all their photos on social networks like Facebook, without even keeping digital copies or not at home? We rely too much on these free services and the safeguarding of our information. Take multifunction phones like the iPhone which now offers the iCloud feature, which hosts all your phone content on an external server, to prevent you from losing your information in case of breakage, theft or loss. Apple offers you 5 GB of free space, in order to keep you as a customer, and especially that you are sold to their cloud.
There are several other storage services like Amazon EC2, Windows Azure or Google App Engine. For my part, I use DropBox, which offers free 2 GB of space and a bonus of 500 MB each time I invite a friend to subscribe to the service. But for less than $ 100 a year, you get 100GB of space. Dropbox even offers to replace the hard drive of your computer by offering that all your documents are systematically copied to the cloud, in real time. Convenient since you can access your information anytime, anywhere in the world and on any computer.
For a company, the biggest danger is probably the possibility of an intrusion into the confidential information of the company, since their network is no longer partitioned as before. The availability of networks is the other sword of Damocles hanging above the heads of companies. For an individual, the crucial issue is no doubt the protection of privacy and theft of one’s identity.
My recommendation to my clients is always make sure to store your essential information on services worthy of mention and especially to keep a copy of your precious documents at home, in a safe place.