Cut the marketing fluff and focus on what matters in the Cloud: security

It is time to put a stop to the latest marketing buzzword – the Cloud – and stop the rebranding madness and the redefinition of something that is already there. This is according to the CTO of Simplexo, the UK search specialist.

Simon Bain, CTO, Simplexo, states: “Well I am obviously a believer in using the ‘cloud’ as a way forward for both personal and corporate life. However there are certain guidelines that I think need to be adhered to before we all start throwing our hard disks away and placing everything in to the hands of others,”

“Let’s be clear – clouds are fluffy, contain water vapour and sometimes they are not around. That would certainly be no good if we all had our life in one! But seriously the cloud is today’s marketing word, if this were to change tomorrow to a new buzzword with the same meaning, we would all once again be confused. So my first request is STOP,”

“What we need to do is drill down and focus on what the cloud is in its simplest form. It is a mechanism to store your files; images, music, movies etc, on-line on somebody else’s hard disks. It is also a way to run applications without having them installed. It is where most of us store and view our emails and have done for many decades, it is where we place our videos and images on Youtube, Facebook and flikr,” he added

“But it is security we should be focusing on – this is the first and last thing that we and the providers should think about.”

Some of the questions we need to be asking are:
Can somebody access our data?
Is our data truly ours? Or does our agreement with our provider actually sign it over to them. (Check as most providers do exactly this)?
Are the servers that my information is stored on secure?
What about the files? Are they encrypted?
If there is an on-line search capability is this secure or does it hold plain text in a database?
If a hacker gains access to the servers, can they see my files?
Are my login details and or user credentials held on the server?

Simon concluded: “Pretty basic stuff you would think but you will be surprised how many of the above are ignored. Security in all aspects of your on-line life is important. The cloud is no different. Just because you may not be logging in to your bank, does not mean that the security should be any weaker. Remember you may have placed your bank statements in the cloud!”