Friday, April 30, 2010

Cloud Computing

What is it?

Cloud computing is a relatively new phenomenon within the IT technology sector and is changing the world. In a nutshell, the ‘cloud’ is the term used to represent the information on the internet available for user download. For example, when you tweet a message on Twitter the message is put into the cloud for all to see, search, and download to their screen. Twitter is a public cloud, but there are private clouds such as Facebook where the content is limited to your ‘friends’. The image below shows how all of these interconnected devices and business servers all put content into the internet cloud which is immediately available for anyone with a browser to view. Cloud computing is a revolutionary concept which affects the general public and businesses worldwide.


Obviously, this easily accessible world of cloud computing can raise some concerns within the general public. Just recently, a company designed around social online shopping named Blippy allowed some users credit card information to become part of the source code in its website. Google’s search engine then indexed the content, making it available in the cloud for the public to search and access. Privacy is naturally the biggest concern that people have with this new technology because people halfway around the world can learn things about you in very remarkable ways. Another power behind cloud computing is the traceability of your movement on the web. Your computer gives off a unique signature to the internet when you are browsing which can be used to trace and gain information about you, the user. I have code running on this blog that tracks site hits from what location, browser, IP address, website, etc etc. Most web users I can guarantee do not know this. Being ignorant of the implications of putting data into the cloud is becoming increasingly dangerous. Soon the people using online functions will have to decide to give up their privacy or demand for an alternate system. My advice to you is: do not put anything online without realizing the potential of others using that data for other means!

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