Risks in the Cloud

Jonathan Zittran wrote an opinion piece in the New York Times, called Lost in the Cloud. It’s a good opinion piece on the risks of the “cloud” or cloud computing.

You might be asking yourself: What is the “cloud”?

Basically it the shared and networked environment online. Do you use Facebook? Do you do online banking? Do you use Mosby for your backups? Essentially these online activities mean that you place information about yourself and your activities online. You typically get to them by using a username and password. Increasingly, we are taking advantage of “clouds” as we move from using our individual computers to more online tasks and activities.

There is a lot of talk about the advantages of the cloud. But what about the disadvantages and even risks? This is why Zittran’s article is important. It reminds us of the risks we take as we increasingly move our activities from our personal computer to online environments.

Some of the things Zittran brings to the forefront are:

  • Trust: How much trust to we place in the onlines services that we use and store sometimes very personal information?
  • Privacy: Should the government or an online service eavesdrop on my online activities? What are the limits?
  • Safety: What happens to those who fall victim to cybercrime?

These are excellent points that Zittran brings to our attention as risks that we face in cloud computing. Another good point that Zittran made is to push for legislation that will iron out either inconsistencies or lack of safety nets for the cloud. This advocacy will help ensure our privacy as well as provide a safety net for cloud computing and online activities.