I get a lot of questions about “the cloud.” Many of them are, basically, “Can I trust the cloud?”
My first response is always, “What do you think ‘the cloud’ is?”
I usually get some knitted brows and a shrug.
My customers know that the cloud has something to do with their computers and phones and tablets all being able to talk to each other. That’s a nice feature, I will admit.
First off, click here to see a picture of ‘the cloud.’
That’s right, the cloud is…just another computer. Usually several dozen to several hundred of them in a server room somewhere. It’s not magic. It’s, obviously, not LITERALLY a cloud.
To the question of “Can I trust the cloud?” my answer has been:
“Don’t put anything in the cloud you wouldn’t be 100% comfortable seeing published on the front page of the New York Times.”
Here’s the logic: While your password may be the most secure and complex password in the history of time itself, there are other ways into the cloud than directly through YOUR account.
Think of it like this: When you create a really safe, complex password that you’ve never used anywhere before, it’s like changing the locks on the front door of a house. You have the only key. But there are dozens of way into that house, and you can’t control them all. It’s possible that someone left the back door wide open, and so anyone can come in and take your stuff.
The Cloud is good for storing pictures, contacts, bookmarks, stuff like that.
It’s not good for storing things that you don’t want other people to know about. Like your bank password. Or other personal details.
Also, for professionals (attorneys, doctors, therapists, etc.) that are bound by certain industry privacy standards like HIPAA, few cloud-service providers have security that is considered up to those requirements.