I have written several times recently about Cloud Computing, which I believe is the wave of the future. You can see my past articles at http://tinyurl.com/yaxaeeg. Now Michael S. Rosenwald of the Washington Post has written a lengthy article about the usefulness of cloud computing and tells why it can be more secure than storing data on your own hard drive.
Rosenwald writes about Heather Pierce who reports that much of her life floats in the cloud:
Her e-mail is stored in that vast digital space, bouncing between Yahoo server farms. Her bank statements reside there, too, along with her mortgage payments, credit card files, movie rental account, library book list, home videos and hundreds of photos -- on Shutterfly, Facebook and her blog. She has only a few hard-copy photos of her 17-month-old daughter.
If Pierce's house caught fire, what would she dash in to save? Not much, probably. "All of that important stuff is online now," she said. "That's where our lives are."
Rosenwald then goes on to describe many practical uses of high security cloud computing, even describing how to protect your business assets and secrets in the case of your death. You can read the entire article at http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2010/01/24/AR2010012402886.html.
My thanks to Sandy Clunies for telling me about this article.
How can cloud computing be even more secure than storing data on your own hard drive? Two ways:
1. Almost all cloud computing services encrypt your data before sending it across the Internet to the cloud computing servers. Nobody can read your encrypted data, not even the employees of the cloud computing service. If they copy your files or attempt to look at them, all they see is random characters. In other words, it looks like garbage.
2. In most cases, data stored on your local hard drive is easily read and copied by anyone who has physical access to your system. That might be a family member or a burglar or a service person or tradesman who spends a few minutes in your home. Even placing a log-in password on your Windows or Macintosh account does't really secure your data; anyone with physical access to your system can boot from a CD or a jump drive and thereby bypass your secure log-in. (I've done that several times for clients, usually immediately after an employee has been terminated.)
It is possible to encrypt an entire hard drive with BitLocker Drive Encryption or FileVault or TrueCrypt or something similar, resulting in top-notch protection. However, very few people ever do that. Most home computers are very insecure.