I can remember back in the day when we connected to the Internet via a modem and were charged by the minute while accessing the Information Superhighway. Now, the Internet and really, the network it runs on, has pretty much become invisible to the naked eye. Just as we expect the lights to turn on when we flick a switch, we also pretty much expect the Internet to always be on and available without thinking twice about it. Internet service providers have gone from wanting Wi-Fi only in your house to working on providing connectivity to the entire city, giving the metro user Internet access from inside and outside of your home or office.
This explosion in connectivity has helped cloud computing systems and services to become such an active part of our daily lives that we, as consumers, do not really think of it; it has just become invisible. Although, the term “Cloud” will have a better chance of sticking long-term than Information Superhighway ever had. The cloud will get to a point where it is an invisible extension of the Internet, helping to create a seamless IT user experience and blurring the line between professional and personal. From your SkyDrive to your iCloud, and everything in-between, the cloud has given us so many different ways to move and share our data to make sure we have complete availability for things we need when we need them.
This blurring of the lines is a blessing and a curse. Yes, we become more productive with our time, but we have helped usher in an era where control of the data is really becoming out of control. Even as corporations establish standards and guidelines for data conduct, until corporate America catches up with the consumer offerings this data escape will continue, and it will require retraining of end-users to be secure and diligent with the data. How long will it be before we read in the news that someone’s personal DropBox account has been compromised and private data shared? We heard news like this when laptops where lost and/or stolen. One of the quickest policies that were put in place for lost equipment was encrypting the contents on the drive so it could not be opened or used. Taking advantage of encryption technologies for data at rest could be a very good first step to reign in the wild, wild data.
New cloud offerings seem to appear daily and are presenting consumers with more and more choices of different ways to make our lives easier. Now is the time to regroup, educate the users, and work on implementing controls to be able to keep our private data private. It all starts with education and understanding.