Is Cloud Computing Safe?
What about Apple and iCloud – Is it Secure?
In the above video Raj gives some balanced perspective on the recent celebrity photo leak. However he doesn’t clearly answer the question, “Is data safe on the Internet?”
Tomorrow I’ll be speaking to business leaders in Bethesda MD on this subject:
Things to consider before moving into cloud, BYOD, and other transformational technologies.
There’s a lot of things to think about here, but the bottom line is, Data is Not “Safe” on the Internet. It’s a matter of impact and likelihood; a graph I refer to extensively in some of my books.
Safety is never guaranteed – not while driving your car, and not in transmitting data. The question is, what’s the impact of certain things happening, and what is the likelihood of them happening. Before putting data on cloud services, or really any Internet connected computer, the data owner has to ask, what is the impact of certain potential events. It might be helpful to make a short list.
Data may be targeted by hackers like it was with Home Depot, or I might just lose connectivity to my cloud service like when my Internet connection goes down and I can’t make a land line phone call. So what’s the impact of each thing I come up with?
Now, what’s the likelihood?
If I thought I might experience a deadly crash every time I got behind the wheel, I guess I’d stop driving.
As it stands, after over 50 years of incident free driving, I feel pretty good about taking my car rather than walking or riding my mountain bike. Yet the risk of a deadly accident still exists. The impact is high; the likelihood is low.
Cloud computing is complicated. As Raj explains, it’s not some mysterious technology. It’s simply someone else’s computer and I’m renting some space on it. Microsoft OneDrive gives me 1 TB for a reasonable monthly price, so I use it. However, I don’t think I’d be putting explicit photos of myself on it. I’m okay with the idea that someone might expose a picture of me hiking through the woods with one of my kids. So the impact is low, and since I can’t really see the Microsoft security set up, I don’t know what the likelihood is. But I don’t really care that much.
The point here is, no one really knows how secure any given cloud provider is…it’s always a guess.
Now with my accounting data I might feel differently. It might be too sensitive to put in the cloud, or I might do some more research before placing my trust in Intuit or Amazon, or whoever hosts the accounting application I use.
If you do the research, it wasn’t iCloud that created this photo problem. It was social engineering. It almost always is in some way. No matter how good the security is, you can always talk someone into installing a bot or program to capture passwords (Key logger) as they’re entered in. And you can almost always put something together to run through the dictionary of likely passwords and simply guess. And it’s human nature to use a password that is both easy to remember and easy to guess.
So there’s no reason to sit around blaming Apple. It could have been any cloud storage with pictures. Next time it will be Dropbox or Google Drive…Cloud is not an ultra safe place to store explicit pictures or any other highly sensitive data. And Internet connected servers aren’t much better. After all, that is what the cloud is…a bunch of Internet connected servers just like the ones sitting in your home or office.
© 2014, David Stelzl
P.S. Are you the trusted security advisor to your clients? Make sure you don’t miss this upcoming workshop (Online) specifically for technology resellers selling security and managed services offerings!
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