Love it or hate it, but don’t ignore it: I’m talking about the cloud. While the business world has known about the technology for quite some time now, it has become familiar in pop culture only recently, and in a somewhat controversial manner. Following the mass notoriety of the iCloud hack last year, cloud technology is stuck in the headlines for all the wrong reasons, perhaps because the iCloud hack was not the only time cloud technology has been blamed for a breach of security. In the world of enterprise, social media, and digital business, the cloud has had its moments of gaffe – from minor hitches like Google going down for a brief period, or Facebook falling flat, to more nefarious acts of data violation like the data theft of nearly 40 million credit and debit card details from nationwide stores of the retail giant, Target. The cloud has definitely had some growing pains.
Cloud Disasters Brew Mistrust among Users
When it comes to popular culture, 2014 witnessed one of the worst cloud disasters: celeb photo leaks with risqué personal photos of celebs like Jennifer Lawrence, Kate Upton, Kirsten Dunst, Mary Elizabeth Winstead and other actresses arrived in batches week after week. The hackers responsible reportedly obtained the photos by breaking into the iCloud accounts of these celebs, dragging Apple directly into the wrath of millions of people. The bad rap doesn’t end there. The 2014 movie, “Sex Tape,” has depicted cloud as a brute, evil force that can potentially shred your reputation into pieces and cause humiliation beyond belief.
These occurrences have not only tarnished the image of cloud, but have also caused people who are unfamiliar with the technology to cringe and want to avoid it like plague. So, the question remains: is cloud really unsafe? Well, I say “yes” and “no,” depending on the way you use it. As with any other technology, using cloud tech with a little more discretion can allow you to enjoy the benefits without the threat of laying bare your sensitive data for public consumption.
Myths and What You Really Need to Know about Cloud
Myth 1. Putting something in the cloud means anyone on the Internet can have an access to it. There’s a huge difference between storing something in the cloud and publishing it on the Internet. Most of us use cloud-based storage services on our smartphones and tablets, services like iCloud, Dropbox, or Google Cloud. While you can definitely share what you store there for public viewing, this only happens after you complete an additional step that will allow you to wilfully share it with others.
Myth 2. Storing something, like photos for example, online is not the same thing as storing it in the cloud. They are essentially the same thing. While millions of users are storing their photos in the online space, many don’t realize that they are actually storing them in the cloud.
Myth 3. Leading cloud services are the best choices. Not really. The most popular choices aren’t necessarily great at balancing features, effectiveness, and cost savings. The big players like Google, Amazon, Microsoft, and Dropbox offer products that are lacking in features or security for a high price. There are lesser-known providers, however, who offer great features and security for reasonable prices. Consider the likes of SpiderOak, Wuala, or Tresorit, which offer better encryption and more secure storage and file sharing options for the price paid.
Myth 4. The storage and security provided by your cloud vendor is the maximum you can have, right? Wrong. If you want more speed and storage than your cloud service offers, along with greater security and encryption, you can use a third party application to encrypt your data locally. It’s like putting a second layer of protection on your data, which safeguards your privacy much better.
Cloud tech doesn’t bite. Not if you know the right ways to use it. And, once you do, there’s a sea of benefits for your personal as well as business needs.
What do you think of cloud? Have you had any cloud-based misconceptions cleared up lately?
This post was brought to you by IBM for Midsize Business and opinions are my own. To read more on this topic, visit IBM’s Midsize Insider. Dedicated to providing businesses with expertise, solutions and tools that are specific to small and midsized companies, the Midsize Business program provides businesses with the materials and knowledge they need to become engines of a smarter planet.
Image: Creative Commons
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