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Is Cloud Computing Safe and Secure? Here's the Real Answer

Is Cloud Computing Safe and Secure?
Getting off to a slow start, cloud computing seems to be all the rage today. But as far as computers and networking is concerned, there will always be problems it will face. Find out how and why things can get messy with cloud computing.
Arun Prabhu
Last Updated: Mar 19, 2018
It has been almost 4 years since the term 'Cloud Computing' has been in use. We know how technology can advance in 4 years, all cloud technology included. But, are there still some things that haven't been figured out yet, some loopholes or vulnerabilities? To answer that question, I'll ask you another question, how does it work? If you know the answer to this, then you'll also know that you have been using cloud computing for quite a while. You have been using it whenever you logged on to Facebook or Gmail. Now, after knowing that all these things are cloud based, would it change your opinion of how safe these sites are? For me, it didn't really change much. I believe it is just as safe, or unsafe, as old school server hosts and server farms. There are still many things that will decide the fate of the cloud, some of which are still unknown. Till then, take a look at why people choose it and the current problems it faces.
The Need of Cloud Computing
Cloud computing
The focus shifted towards it because of mostly two reasons; convenience and money.

Cloud makes it too easy to store, edit and access all your data. You just don't need to install anything on your cumbersome. You don't need to go through some intense and slow protocol every time you have to access your files. This has been one of the biggest reasons for corporate companies and individual users to prefer cloud computing alike.

The other reason is the current state of economy as well as the need to cut down on the carbon footprint. Cloud can provide for both, dishing out the best interaction speeds for completely affordable prices. Since the user doesn't need any hardware for using cloud services (apart from the usual stuff), it goes without saying that if there is no hardware, then there will be no redundant hardware or dead hardware and consequently, trashed hardware.
Possible Problems With the Cloud
The cloud computing systems are the same as regular networks when it comes to attracting and solving problems. Here are some of the problems that cloud has already faced and maybe will even continue to do so.
Security Breach
Social media twitter
An example of this would be the Twitter hack that happened in 2009. Twitter basically works on the cloud interface by contracting with Google, allowing its users to enjoy their services with no cost and installations. A French hacker used Twitter to reach into the inner sanctums of Google employee records (the administrative assistant's account and few others) to extract critical information and to cause Google Docs to malfunction. The alarms rang through the cloud world, prompting everyone to bulk up their security and making users doubt the security that Google can provide. But it should again be noted that what happened can happen just as easily to any other system in the world, cloud or not.

While that was 2 years ago and the security is obviously better now, so are the hackers. The real problem with cloud and its breaching is that it is still fairly new and so many people are using it already. That is the only reason that attracts all the flies to cloud's soup. So when you're worrying about security compromise regarding cloud, you're only doing so because everybody is using it.
Multiple Data Entanglement
Security concept with cloud  computing
This problem can be best explained in the words of Vuk Trifkovic, a senior data analyst at Datamonitor - "At the heart of the infrastructure is this idea of multi-tenancy and decoupling between specific hardware resources and applications." What it means is the pull of cloud service providers to using the same hardware for multiple software or accounts. This can pose a risk of data loss or hacking. "In the jungle of multi-tenant data, you need to trust the cloud provider that your information will not be exposed," is what Vuk advises when you set out to subscribe to a cloud service. It's possible the only way to know that your data is safe in their hands.
When Data Changes Countries
Laws word clouds concept
This is another problem that can occur with cloud. The reason for this is that cloud still doesn't have straightforward controlling laws regarding data transfer country to country and its security at the place where it has been stored. This needs to be resolved using a cloud service provider with full transparency as to where it stores all the data and the rules and regulations that govern that site. Only deal with a trusting cloud company and check up on local security laws.
Keeping it Safe in the Cloud
Long Passwords
Password protected
It is a simple step that often goes overlooked. Many people prefer to keep a password that they can remember, like their own name, their address or something personally linked to them. This is a mistake and things like these are the first to be looked at by hackers. Follow the guidelines given by the site and add your own assortments of letters (both cases) and numbers to it. Keep it random and write it down on paper somewhere. Try not to access the cloud from a public computer like the library or an Internet cafe, you never know what malware may be on those computers.
Data Encryption
Data encryption
Although most clouds have their own encryption systems, you can choose to use your own. This is because chances are, the cloud will be using a finite set of keys for all encryption, so if someone knows them, they can easily access your files.
File Sharing
File sharing two device
Make sure you have control over the privacy settings of all files on your account. Keep the shared files separate from the private ones. This helps your stuff to be more organized as well as useful to keep track of all your file sharing. It would also be wise to keep a backup of at least the shared files, if not all of them, on your own computer. Yes, it kind of beats the purpose of owning a cloud account, but better safe than sorry.
There will also be other problems that will reveal as time progresses, but it's now understood that most of these problems arise only because cloud computing is still in the developing stage. I would give it more time to evolve and wait for stronger international laws for cloud data storage and transfer. But, with what clouds can provide, I'm pretty sure hardly anything will rain on its parade.