How safe is the Cloud? Why it pays to protect yourself first


Cloud computing has grown almost exponentially in recent years. But with it have grown concerns about the safety and security of using this new method of computing.

Steve Wozniak once described the Cloud as leading to ‘horrible problems’ and although he has recently revealed that he has revised his opinion and is actually a fan, he still gives companies stern warnings about going ‘all in’ just yet.

As you might expect, Mr Wozniak is probably right. While there are some pretty serious security concerns with the Cloud, as long as you protect yourself and your business before getting involved, there’s no reason you can’t enjoy its benefits in safety.

Cloud security

First off, you need to ask the relevant questions before getting involved. For example, will the data stored remain within the EU, US or UK? Or will it be stored elsewhere? Who in the supplier organisation will have access to your data? What certification standard does the supplier adhere to?

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USB 3.0 is here, but to stay?

USB-3.0The title of this post is a little misleading. USB 3.0 has been out for a while, there just haven’t been many peripherals to support it. Several firms finally released USB 3.0 products today, and though they are certainly cool, certainly fast, I certainly won’t be buying any of them.

Why? That’s my question, actually. Why would I? There is precious little I need to drop onto a thumbdrive these days. Even the raid arrays that launched today are fairly unappealing. My main storage device is attached to my router, and I do nearly all of my backups over the air, which USB 3.0 isn’t going to improve. Documents? Pictures? I have Google, Flickr, Facebook, insert-cloud-storage-of-choice. The days of carrying around the few things I really need on a thumbdrive are long gone, replaced by the convenience and security of offsite backups in duplicate or triplicate.

Don’t get me wrong, USB 3.0 will be around and become increasingly prevalent over the next several years, but my guess is the general public will hardly notice. The one thing consumers understand about the new transfer technology is price, and it’s a price that’s hard to justify when it only gives you faster transfer rates on hardware connected devices.

Kingston’s new 16GB thumbdrive is $89. The 64GB, a whopping $270. A USB 2.0 64GB stick can be had for half that price, and when the holidays roll around, likely a fifth. I can think of precious few consumer applications that would require the 60Mbps write speed that USB 3.0 will provide. So few, in fact, that I couldn’t even name one.


Google ChromeOS – Should everyone be scared?

Joy of Tech ChromeOS

So I ran across this cartoon about how Microsoft Windows and Apple OS X should be scared of Google ChromeOS and it made me wonder. How true may this cartoon be?

Could Google’s ChromeOS dominate cloud computing? Could ChromeOS become the operating system for all our gadgets including cell phones, desktops, laptops, tablets, netbooks, etc.? Could Google store all our apps on centralized servers thereby eliminating the need to sync up all your devices all the time? And considering all of this, could Google and ChromeOS remain free?

Scary as it may sound, I think the short answer is yes.

Even though I’m a self proclaimed techno-geek/gadget guy, I find it hard to predict where all of “this” is going. Considering it feels like just a few years ago when I was rocking out to my brand spanking new Guns-N-Roses Appetite for Destruction tape during breaks from nonstop marathons on NES Super Mario Brothers, I really have a hard time predicting the future. My first PC game was text-based and was played on a monochrome monitor. My college PC had a 270 Megabyte hard drive that I regularly compressed. Did I have a clue that just a few years later that my phone would fit in my pocket and could play my entire library of music as well as stream online video content and surf the web? Uh, no. So what’s my point? I try to think about the future of gadgets and no matter how hard I try, I cannot predict where all of this is going.

That’s why this cartoon is so intriguing. Though intended to be humorous, it may have a point. In this new world of technology, don’t you think it’s silly that we are still paying for operating systems? Of course some of us don’t (you know who you are Linux users) but the majority of us still pay a premium to run our computers. It also seems silly that we have to sync up all our gadgets with cables and cords. I imagine in just a few short years we’ll laugh at how many cables we used to have to carry around and keep track of. I also think it’s silly that we don’t have all of our applications available to us no matter what device we use. Programs like Xmarks and MobileMe are just the start of things. I mean come on, it’s 2009, shouldn’t I have all my internet bookmarks available to me no matter what computer or device I’m using (thank you Xmarks for taking care of that). But bookmarks are just the start of it, next will be applications. Then what comes after that?

If you’re like me, this sounds great, but a bit scary as well.

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