Cloud computing may seem like a shiny new technology but the concept has been around since the early days of computers. Using modern cloud services we can access our data from anywhere in the world from any internet capable machine. Since cloud data is stored on remote servers we no longer have to worry about dropping a device in water and washing away all of our data in one heart wrenching moment. At last, our technological savior has arrived! But wait, does this divine technology come at a price?
Neither the cloud's advanced age nor its' potential benefits provide comfort with regard to privacy. It feels quite natural when asked to hand over your entire digital life, including all your confidential information, to respond with an audible, "You're out of your bleeping mind!" We certainly wouldn't ask a stranger to hold a briefcase filled with our life's savings, would we? Oh wait, we do ask strangers to hold our life savings, and in some cases they've done a very poor job of it. Perhaps banks and stock brokers are partly to blame for our distrust of the cloud. Or perhaps the natural reaction to any significant innovation is to resist.
Banks and Cloud service share a common abstract concept. Both are a single repository of collective wealth; in the case of banks the wealth is money and valuables, and for cloud services it is sensitive personal information. I have no trouble believing that the first banks were met with much the same skepticism as cloud services. I imagine old men laughing at the fools who pile their wealth high and make theft more alluring to criminals.
But men who laugh in the face of change are not often the ones to laugh last. Together we can defend a single reserve of wealth more easily than defending many smaller reserves individually.
If cloud technology is to be the way of the future then I, for one, would rather be an innovator than a laggard. Make no mistake, I have no intention of handing over my money or my virtual identity to a stranger without due diligence. I have done the research, I have talked to the industry professionals, and I have studied cloud security.
The following infographic is designed to highlight the cloud features that are necessary to ensure data privacy. For more information regarding cloud security, client-side encryption, and encryption algorithms, read the full Guide to Privacy in the Cloud article at ArmorforAndroid.com.♦
James Green is a mobile security researcher who has worked in the Android security field for several years providing privacy and security advice to Android users. Email:James@ArmorforAndroid.com; Twitter:@James_AfA