Clouds are no longer geographic terms

The world, in its current state, is witnessing the greatest technological advancement in our lifetime. Our transition from the previous industrial revolutions to where we are now – Industrial Revolution 4.0 – is no small feat.

Take clouds for instance. 30 years ago, it wouldn’t be imaginable to think that clouds would be referring to storing data. Back then, clouds were forms of precipitation, storing static electricity and moisture. Clouds would indicate clear skies or thunderstorms. Nowadays, clouds refer to something entirely different.

Is it true that clouds are actually helping us move forward? What are some of the benefits of clouds? And is it really secure?

Technology: a Helping Hand?

The cloud is a term referring to accessing computer, information technology (IT), and software applications through a network connection, often by accessing data centres using wide area networking (WAN) or Internet connectivity. This means that all your data, images, songs and documents can be stored in an invisible storage space in the sky (it’s not, clouds still do have physical servers). Digital servers help create room for data to be stored. After all, all data are just a combinations of zeros and ones.

Cloud storage comes with all forms of devices, from phones to laptops, and the best part is that it’s all interconnected through an email. One of the benefits of clouds is invisible storage.

Storage is always a problem, as data continues to grow so do our devices. For example, Apple iPhone come with a set amount of storage space, however, iCloud gives you the flexible option to pay for storage so that it lessens the workload on the phone. Thereby increasing the processing power of the device. Scalability allows customisation, which is highly sought after in this day and age.

Another key point is that cloud storage boasts that it is affordable. This one of the greater points of clouds. Storage used to be in the form of physical megabytes and gigabytes, but now all that has changed. It has evolved from floppy disks to massive “invisible” storage spaces in the air. In the past, these storage devices had a (heavy) fixed price point which meant bringing along your thumb drives and hard drives to store data. Now it can be as cheap as RM11.90 for 200 gigabytes worth of space. Let that sink in for a moment.

Finally, clouds are designed to be flexible, easy to use and ideal as back up storage. A lot of times we are faced with hidden technical glitches that may cause us to lose data (remember the time when your thumb drive or hard disk suddenly freezes?). Cloud storage prevents that. With cloud, data can be automatically synced, that in the event of your friend challenging you to do the Silly Salmon Challenge, you can rest assured your data is safe. Your phone, however, is a different story.

Technology: a step back?

While these are all good reasons to jump on the cloud hype, could there potentially be drawbacks?

Cited from Data Centre Knowledge, “cloud computing does present many drawbacks that often come back to haunt users, such as skyrocketing fees, poor performance and security concerns.” Now, what exactly are these concerns?

Concern number one would on the level of security enforced on these cloud services. In a 2015 report by Network World, it states that criminals are now moving in the direction of cloud crimes. The report cites that a malware report in 2014 shows an increase in attacks on cloud systems. This then suggests that the thing we hold most dear are in fact threats to us. Mobile phones, laptops, GPS systems are all susceptible to this threat. This is especially true when accessing your cloud through free Wi-Fi networks.

Another issue connected to security is privacy. In such a fast-paced world, our information is that determines who we are and these pieces of information as valuable as gold. In a report by CIO Asean, online apparel retailer Zappos was hit with a data breach and that customer’s vital information was stolen, customers were warned to be vigilant. Why? Because this exposed them to issues such as receiving harmless spam to potentially dangerous ‘phishing’ mail which is aimed at stealing more information than what is on hand already.

From there, this information can be used to commit fraud to identity theft.

Everything in Moderation

With that being said, the best way to safeguard yourself from some form of cybercrime is to ensure that you are well encrypted (passwords have an uppercase, number and special characters) and vigilant regarding all things connected to the internet.

Our advice, don’t be stingy when it comes to security. Do what is necessary to ensure your experiences are always neutral veering towards good.

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