It’s in the Cloud

I’ve been thinking these past few days about how much data is being slowly moved into cloud data centers all over the place.. I don’t mean a single cloud data center, but I mean hundreds of them as we use one new smart phone app after another.    Smart phones and very cool applications on the desktops are sharing data we enter via copying it somewhere to a cloud data center.   Applications like Evernote, Instapaper, Dropbox, Google Apps, Apple Mobile Me and literally countless other are copying data loaded into our smartphones into storage somewhere in the cloud.   Do any of us have any idea what kind of security is being manged in those data centers?  I love these applications, but we are quietly and slowly copying important data about ourselves into unknown data centers in unknown locations with unknown protection.

At the corporate level, the same is true.   Employees are carrying smart phones with these applications loaded and then using them for their personal information and data storage.   Phone numbers, ID numbers, passwords, instructions, etc. are being stored in these applications and then copied into the cloud.   Corporations are likely having their IP and their security keys slowly being stored in these clouds of unknown security levels without even realizing it as workers and executives use these apps more and more.

Don’t get me wrong, I love these apps and I love the productivity boost they give me.  However, I have a growing concern that at the corporate level, companies might be putting themselves at greater risk than they realize.   And it is almost a problem that nobody wants to discuss because we don’t want our convenient apps being blocked in the work place.

Would like to hear your thoughts on this.

5 thoughts on “It’s in the Cloud”

  1. Big questions. Sherry and I discussed this (is Big Brother really watching?) last night as her iPhone Kindle reader “picked up where she left off” in the ebook in her Kindle that was turned off across gown at home.

  2. I should point out that I had to replace my iPhone today and all this data in the cloud is reloading on my iPhone perfectly without any hassle. Therefore, I love this too. I’m conflicted.

  3. Mark,

    I am of the opinion that ultimately each employee should be good steward of the corporate data that they have been entrusted with. The ubiquitous nature of cloud makes it impossible to function efficiently without the use of one cloud powered app or the other. While browsing the Chrome OS store, I encountered only one application that doesn’t store data in the cloud — rest of them either store data in the cloud automatically or have an option to store data in the cloud. I think computing is moving in this direction, and blocking access to these apps is crippling to productivity. But I do think that there should be a strong awareness program at each company that not only talks about the risks but also talks about the use-cases for popular applications. For e.g. I have no need whatsoever to access my work email or chat on my phone. So I have not configured my phone to receive either. However, a need may arise while I am travelling or in training. If I am in that situation I should be able setup my work email on my phone, and disconnect immediately after the trip/training. I think such use cases should be included in the awareness program, and process for provision / de-provisioning should be made simple to drive this behaviour.


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