Computing “in the Cloud”? Not.

by on March 10, 2008 · 2 comments

Arrington reports that a G-mail archiver called G-Archiver, which backs up all of your Gmail emails to your hard drive, sends every user’s email address and password to the creator’s own email account, giving him access to all of their Gmail messages. And he observes:

That has led a number of experts to conclude that Google Apps can never be a real threat to Microsoft Exchange and Sharepoint. All of the sensitive business information of a company, if stored on Google’s servers, is just a password guess, or in this case what is effectively a phishing scam, away.

This reprises his earlier observation (which I amplified here) that “unauthorized document access is a simple password guess or government ‘request’ away.”

Looking down the horizon, I don’t see why it’s better to have computing and storage done remotely. Better security (for the corporation and individual alike) will come from owning and physically controlling your storage and computing. The winners won’t be the providers of computing in the cloud (think Google); it’ll be the ones who make the portable and easy-to-use devices (think Apple).

  • Adam Thierer

    Jim… In one sense, I agree that “Better security… will come from owning and physically controlling your storage and computing.” There’s little doubt that files stored locally are, generally speaking, going to be more secure than files stored remotely.

    That being said, there’s much to be said for the convenience associated with cloud computing and storage. For example, I use Mozy.com’s wonderful online backup service to store many of my documents, spreadsheets and slide show presentations. (You get 2 GB free and then pay a monthly fee for storage over that amount). It backs up my files every night at a set time no matter where I am in the world (so long as I have a Net connection, that is). Importantly, however, I only store non-sensitive files on Mozy. I keep personal / financial information partitioned on my hard drive and back those files up locally at my house on an external drive once a week. But because I am constantly updating my non-sensitive Word and Excel documents while I’m on the road, Mozy offers me the piece-of-mind that I won’t lose a day’s worth of work because of a system crash. (I had that nightmare occur last year, and it really sucked.)

    So, at least with regards to storage, I think there is a happy middle ground between pure cloud and pure proprietary storage.

    For those looking to store more online, increased use of encryption would certainly be advisable.

  • http://www.techliberation.com Adam Thierer

    Jim… In one sense, I agree that “Better security… will come from owning and physically controlling your storage and computing.” There’s little doubt that files stored locally are, generally speaking, going to be more secure than files stored remotely.

    That being said, there’s much to be said for the convenience associated with cloud computing and storage. For example, I use Mozy.com’s wonderful online backup service to store many of my documents, spreadsheets and slide show presentations. (You get 2 GB free and then pay a monthly fee for storage over that amount). It backs up my files every night at a set time no matter where I am in the world (so long as I have a Net connection, that is). Importantly, however, I only store non-sensitive files on Mozy. I keep personal / financial information partitioned on my hard drive and back those files up locally at my house on an external drive once a week. But because I am constantly updating my non-sensitive Word and Excel documents while I’m on the road, Mozy offers me the piece-of-mind that I won’t lose a day’s worth of work because of a system crash. (I had that nightmare occur last year, and it really sucked.)

    So, at least with regards to storage, I think there is a happy middle ground between pure cloud and pure proprietary storage.

    For those looking to store more online, increased use of encryption would certainly be advisable.

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