Is Your Computing Head In The Clouds?

cloudsIn the last four days, I have heard or seen the term “cloud computing” in four different places (radio report, conference speaker, two different article). While I understood the phrase from context — Internet-based computing which can be accessed from any computer — each source assumed that I already knew the phrase.

Despite my recovering news addict status, I didn’t have a clue.

In fact, without my knowing it, I’m already an avid cloud consumer. My email is Internet-based (Gmail). My files are backed-up in the clouds each night (Mozy Files). I’ve recently begun to keep my calendar online (Google Calendar) and interact with work colleagues online (Google Groups).

From time to time, I do pause and ponder about the wisdom of having so much of “me” out there in the clouds and vulnerable to others’ prying eyes (or computers).

This niggling doubt was renewed yesterday when I read how the federal Department of Health and Human Services has begun posting instances when private, computerized health records have been breached. So far, more than sixty hospitals, private practices, clinics and labs have had breaches affecting 500 people or more and are on the list. (None of which I’ve visited, thank goodness.)

However, I was struck by the type of breach that occurred in each instance. I expected to read about nefarious hackers giggling their evil, genius laugh as they gained unauthorized access to intimate and confidential heath records. Nope. The vast majority of breaches was due to good, old-fashioned human carelessness: thefts of laptops and portable electronic devices.

What are your thoughts about cloud computing? Had you heard the phrase before? And how much do you rely on the clouds to access and store data?

Comments

  • Cindy L. Says:
    4-27-2010 08:30:29

    Wow — this is totally new to me, all of it. You’ve got me curious and now I have to do some research!


  • Sue Says:
    4-27-2010 20:18:19

    I’ve heard the term “cloud computing” a lot recently, but didn’t understand what it was. Thanks for clarifying. Seems I do quite a lot of this. I do sometimes worry about the amount of personal information that I’m sharing, both knowingly and unknowingly, but I doubt that I’ll change my habits. It just makes my life so much easier.


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