lunes, 5 de julio de 2010
Cloud Computing: The New Wave!
Currently, it seems Cloud Computing is becoming a hot issue.
What is cloud computing? Basically, it is storing your information in remote servers (the cloud.) Using such servers could be free or users may also have to pay a fee for the service. That depends on "the cloud" users choose.
Cloud computing gives you the advantage that you don't have to store your information yourself (no more piles of CD or DVD back-ups in your house or your office). Also, it lets you access your data from anyhwere in the world (at least in theory. In reality you need a fast web connection first).
Storing information or even using online document-creating tools (like Google Docs) may be very convenient. In fact, Microsoft also wanted to jump into the train with Office 2010.
However, a fellow Mepis user recently mentioned on the Mepis Forum the article "Office 2010's Web tools raise security questions," by Yardena Arar. The author stated that "security experts say Office 2010's Web-connectedness could present new opportunities for snoops and hackers."
In short, Arar said that the potential problems with Office 2010 refer to two of its new features: SkyDrive and PowerPoint Broadcast. She described both features as follows:
"The former lets you easily share documents with colleagues, either via Office desktop apps or the new Office Web Apps. And with a simple Web link, anyone with a free Windows Live account can now run a PowerPoint 2010 slideshow, viewable by any remote user with a desktop browser."
According to her, problems arise when a a user, probably clueless about security, makes a mistaken use of such features, which along with their relatively low security (only passwords or web links), could result in unintentionally disclosing private information.
Can you imagine? A PowerPoint presentation about a company's new market strategies being disclosed to all SkyDrive accounts because a clueless person did not know how to use or disable Office 2010's web features?
The former is true not just for Microsoft Office 2010. Any form of cloud computing involves a degree of risk and a possible violation of privacy. If the servers are kept in the USA, for example, thanks to the Patriot Act, the government may ask the server keepers to show them all the information stored without notifying the actual owners of the documents.
Experts say Cloud Computing is the future of computers. I agree with them. In fact, many people have been using some sort of cloud computing already, be it online e-mail or photo album publishing. However, storing your information in servers that do not belong to you will always pose a risk in terms of privacy and security. Remember, you will be letting total strangers keep your valuable data. Is that what you really want?