OT: how safe is "the cloud"?

Subject: OT: how safe is "the cloud"?
From: Ken Stitzel <kstitzel -at- symplified -dot- com>
To: techwr-l -at- lists -dot- techwr-l -dot- com
Date: Thu, 7 Jun 2012 11:04:07 -0600

I thought the following would be a worthy topic for a new thread since the
LinkedIn hack thread has become focused on password security solutions
(also a worthy topic).

On 6/6/2012, I wrote:

> I work for a company that does this for cloud applications. You sign on
> once, say at your company's internal home page, and then you can securely
> access a variety of cloud/web applications....

Lauren <lauren -at- writeco -dot- net> responded:
>It was an Amazon cloud product that facilitated the LinkedIn troubles. Is
the cloud really safe?

First, I'm not sure how Amazon contributed to the LinkedIn failure. I don't
know if the failure was _because_ something was a cloud product. Or did a
security breach happen on something that just happened to run on the cloud
but could just as easily have been hacked no matter where it ran? (If you
have a pointer to more info, please let me know.)

Second, the answer to Is the cloud really safe is, "it depends". The Cloud
is just a way of referring to resources on the Internet. Companies and
service providers taking reasonable security measures can make their
applications very secure, indeed. My company helps other companies do this
while making everything accessible.

How does this relate to writing? Some of our apps are moving toward running
on the cloud, that is, they may be accessed by the internet. You may
already run (and accept as secure) applications that run on the cloud
without giving it much thought. I don't know of anyone using for
documentation, but many businesses store critical documents in Google Docs
every day.

A more tech writer-ly example: the database-based Author-It publishing tool
is making a big promotion of it's new cloud-based product. I haven't used
it, and I don't know what kind of security it uses. But I can see
advantages to the approach. If your database gets very large, you could
easily get purchase more storage space without having to go configure a new
extension to your storage network.

Obviously, this wouldn't work for everyone. There are lots of strictures on
where you can store data, what tools you use, how you use them, etc. But
the internet is becoming such a fixture that we are moving in this
direction of software as a service from "the cloud."


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