How Private Is Your Personal Cloud?

Cloud computing has quickly developed from something few could fully comprehend to an essential part of our daily routines. Consumer devices have paved the way to understanding the cloud, allowing people to make it personal and manage their own personal cloud.

Interconnected devices are central to cloud computing and greater accessibility. Not only do we want to share our information with each other, we want to share it with multiple personal devices, and we want to do it instantaneously.

This barely raises an eyebrow in an age in which we’re ‘always on’; being connected allows increased efficiency, and we now expect this capability to be integrated into every new product and service. In addition, the cloud is more economical; its ability to process and store vast amounts of data enables us to use cheaper devices and adopt much more agile ways of working.

Seamless transition

Cloud technology must, however, offer the privacy and security required to maintain a reliable data service. Many businesses are gradually outsourcing their IT requirements to public cloud providers or investing in private internal services, meanwhile witnessing more cohesive relationships that see IT working more strategically to achieve the needs of the business.

If these changes are managed correctly, employees are likely to feel only a minor impact. As a result, their true experience of the cloud will be more personal. Cloud is about how, when and where they can access social networking sites, webmail accounts and how easily media files can be transmitted between devices within the family home.

Two places at once

Creating regular back-ups is highly recommended to avoid losing irreplaceable files in the event of virus infection; and your personal cloud allows you to do just that. Storing comprehensive vaults of personal data on multiple devices surely comes with some vulnerability, however, which is why access control must be prioritised. If one device is compromised, automated cloud syncing could leave your data exposed.

Cloud as we know it

It’s easy to assume that personal cloud storage is far from private when we consider the common aim is to share content and media across devices. Popular cloud services include Apple’s iCloud and Facebook, and it’s no secret these providers exploit the subsequent opportunities to mine the data you trade in return for a free service. Few consumers are actually aware that the services they use rely on cloud technology, so it’s important to highlight the risks.

Effective password management, regularly reviewing personal settings and acknowledging updated privacy policies are just a few examples of general good practice techniques that apply to the cloud. It won’t be long until mobile service providers develop private clouds that enable private sharing, but in the meantime the simple defences remain the best way to protect the personal information we decide to make public.

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Hannah Tufts has been a Communications Assistant with The Security Company (TSC) for one year. She is responsible for internal communications within TSC in addition to managing client communications campaigns and providing marketing support. Hannah graduated in July 2011 from the University of Reading with a 2:1 in English and American Literature. Whilst studying Hannah was a regular contributor to the Travel, Comment and Debate sections of the university newspaper. Hannah has gained experience in the Communications field through her time spent with a variety of organisations including WEXAS Traveller Magazine, Penguin Group and CSC, where she developed her writing skills and in-depth understanding of different target-audiences.