Cloud Computing - Safe, Secure, Ever Growing, Ever Knowing...really?
I wonder what John L. O'Sullivan would call the apparent movement of digitally hosted anonymous cloud computing environment? It does parallel the wild west movement and settling of the Western US in that the move to cloud computing at times is a an unsecure land grab. As in the early history of the American West, we see there are cases of illegal or unauthorized use of another's 'hosted claim' in the new cloud computing implementation of many new personal, social and professional functions over the internet. As this "digital land grab" continues many companies will be expanding their offering from traditional 'installed software functions' to their internet infrastructure.
The resources and potential seem unlimited today.
Every possible type of application, with many over lapping features times the potential users. The limiting factors today may also end up being government involvement and a shrinking market of possible solutions as established layers via to fill the market place with cloud hosted applications offerings.
The use of the cloud for applications that help people and make life easier and more cost effective is not new. Since or before 2004, the advent of social media, image storage, online CRM and much more. There was a time when peoples address books and contact lists, customer data, meetings and operations were considered private and stored on paper, held in private or stored on a personal electronic device. Of course none of these methods were completely secure either.
As meetings moved online, it was exceedingly easy for a rival company to guess an online meeting place URL and get into competitors meetings. It was exceedingly easy in the early days to operate a homemade screen scraper that collected data off MySpace. It is still all to easy to take copywrited images nefariously from almost any site and reuse them without permission.
Since the advent of MySpace and other social media, the general public appetite and attitude toward cloud computing and the anonymization of 'where is this going' has changed steadily and at astronomic rates. With the occasional oversight of security along the way. For instance even in 2010, Facebook's allowance for third-party implicit apps permission to access user profile data is somewhat disturbing. Also Facebook users are vulnerable to attach of types that could allow someone to hijack the users account while a user is interacting with another website account third party websites.
My point is this, while I am actually excited about the movement of services to the cloud/internet I don't specifically dislike or want to pick on any one site or company but sometimes they make it too easy. One site or company may continually repeat in behavior that isn't secure for users who are usually unknowing to the dire straits this puts them in.
Sites could submit their privacy statement automatically, get a grade and users can consider the grade before using the service..
In the coming weeks and months, we'll explore what types of applications are available today in the cloud and begin to understand in laymen's terms where the pitfalls and advantages are in using cloud computing both commercially and personally.