As sunshine starts to peek through and welcome us into summer, I look to the fluffy white clouds above. A beautiful sight. A warm and reassuring image. We instantly associate those little swirly friends with blissful connotations.
The big tech companies choose their words with precision. Computers were boring. Then we were told to "surf the net". Suddenly things got sexy. Every new tech phrase we have adopted has been carefully pushed into our vernacular with premeditated rigor. Stick an 'i' in front of anything and it exudes sex appeal. I'd change my name to iAdrian if my wife would let me.
Apple (itself a 'wholesome' company name chosen to convey reassuring values) and their friends have welcomed us into a lovely image of 'clouds' for a reason. What could be more appealing?
In reality, an image of dark stormy skies overhead would be more realistic. I fear that we are being lulled into a false sense of security. We are in uncharted waters. Profit concerns are being placed ahead of your personal security concerns.
Who actually has access to your personal data?
Some frightening facts for you to please note:
- The US government can inspect your data at will if a firm is using a US-registered cloud provider - even if that data is within the EU.
- There are no standards for compensation or insurance to protect your information.
- Once your data has been leaked it cannot be recalled.
- The EU is only currently discussing the right for personal data to be 'forgotten'; no standards are in place to protect personal privacy.
- Cloud providers have admitted that their own security measures fall short.
Worried yet? You should be. Our lives have changed considerably in recent years. Much of this change has been dictated by technology behemoths like Apple. Many of the developments they have bestowed have been positive. However, this should not detract from our sensitivity and awareness to potentially negative and dangerous impacts creeping in.
Your use of everyday mobile devices iPads, iPhones, all smartphones and mobile computing devices puts your privacy at risk each and every time. These devices leak data in many ways. Any interaction you have through the cloud is potentially at risk of violation.
The sudden explosion of cloud technology and its usage places us at the mercy of new risks before security measures have had time to catch up. Consumerisation has fuelled a tidal wave of demand by organisations to increase workforce efficiency. However, firms are potentially at risk by allowing and encouraging employees to 'use their own devices'. These are even more immature than cloud in terms of security.
The business world may want to take a particularly careful note. If problems arise then there is an inherent danger of litigation, a damage to reputation and a risk of malicious intent.
So, amidst my warning and concerns, what should we do? Are warnings (like this one!) simply irrelevant scaremongering? Absolutely not. Educate and inform yourself. Take the relevant precautions and adapt regularly.
In a busy world we expect and rely upon our national suppliers to offer an inherent layer of protection. This is not always the case - certainly not when it comes to cloud security. Take all precautions. Secure your data and its transit completely. Realise that all mobile data is by its nature vulnerable. And remember, you do not have to be a high profile politician or business leader to be an attractive target for a criminal. We are all targets.
Knowledge is power. In truth, if we equip ourselves well then we have little to fear. Actions speak louder than cosy words.