Cloud, Security, Privacy… The Whole Bowl Of Wax

Guarding us or watching us? Maybe Both? Shouldn't we care? Or should we? Oh, all the questions!!!
Guarding us or watching us? Maybe Both? Shouldn’t we care? Or should we? Oh, all the questions!!!

Yesterday two small power searches destroyed my main computer in the office. After some research it seemed to have fried the main hard drive and the darn thing won’t boot up anymore. Sadly to say, all in a day’s work. History has taught me over and over again never to keep my precious data on my main hard drive. So when our technician took a good look, the simple response was; “Need to replace your hard drive.”

No problem. Told him to just incinerate the old one, blast it into Oblivion, and install a new one. Oh, the guy will be so happy spending time to first install Windows 7, then Windows 8 and then upgrade it to Windows 8.1 – thanks to the upgrade to Windows 8 we bought here over a year ago. But for me? Happy as a clam I moved to another computer, signed in and using my SkyDrive and Creative Cloud, I was up and running, all my files at hand, within 20 minutes with all my favorite and necessary tools installed.

So it was a life saver yesterday, without even breaking a sweat. The cloud, I mean. I love my Creative Cloud, Corporate Office 365 and SkyDrive. But, as noticed in the documentation of the events of yesterday above, I mentioned not to keep my precious data on the main hard drive. Because, well, let’s face it. I don’t trust the cloud at all. I love the functionality of it, but sorry, cannot stand the concept of using it for private information. I have written about this in detail earlier on, where Microsoft seemed to know exactly what material of my so-called secure and private SkyDrive was not conform their guidelines.

I know there is a lot of grey area out there, and a lot of work is fine to have stored in the cloud. But a lot simply is not. And although I love my movies, a lot of photos and games to be stored in the cloud for me, my private or confidential information simply is not trusted to it yet. Even services like Carbonite I started to distrust, which is completely based on no solid facts at all. I love Carbonite! It comes across as very secure, and very solid. But since so many people are mentioning it nowadays how secure everything is, but still my Debit Card information got stolen during the Target breach in November/December last year. And we seem to be just simply accepting it. That makes this period of time right now a little bit awkward, because now I am doing a couple of different levels of back-up of my data: Always on my hard drive for quick and local retrieval. Then basic files that I want to be shared on my SkyDrive, standard backups on Carbonite, and secure information goes old-fashioned on a DVD or Blu-Ray. But still, keeping it around is like saving money in a sock under your bed… it is as secure as you are. And believe me, my personal life… I have a hard time remembering my passwords…. let alone to keep discs safe.

I am not so much afraid of people getting access to my information. I did not break a sweat when my bank contacted me that my debit card might have been included in the Target breach. I know how to get my money back if something would have happened, and having real-time insights into my account, I simply got everything at my finger tips to cancel transactions. But it is simply the idea that it is so very easily accessible. And working in the IT, sometimes you will cut corners to make dead-lines.  You just need to know where you can cut these corners, and where you absolutely can’t. If I read that during a breach of some payment system all passwords were stored in plain readable text, then someone cut corners. And I’ll bet that someone also mentioned that their system was secure.

But, ah well, that is the evolution, isn’t it? Getting there is half the fun. We see where developments are going, and we can just wait on how nice it would be to not having to worry about loss or theft of a device holding your information anymore. That you can simply get a new one, and voila! There it is.

In a recent posting I shared my opinion about the whole NSA Prism debacle. But there was this little thing that I came across in the last couple of days that did require me to make a small addition to this point of view, which gives it a bit more nuance. And that little thing is the constitution. Not being originally from the US, it is a thing I sometimes do not bring into the connection of living here in the States. But it is the right of privacy. Simple. And although I still stand by my opinion about the situation, the question is now of course if the right of privacy is more important than national security?

Well, I think it is actually a pretty simple answer, that has nothing to do with opinion. The constitution here is the foundation of all our laws here in the United States, so which means that everyone in this country has to live by the rules, which includes the NSA as well. Plain and simple.

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