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What goes on the cloud stays on the cloud

It is unfortunate timing that less than a week before its September 9th event where Apple is expected to announce not only the iPhone 6 but also its entry into new markets that news has shifted to security concerns over its iCloud service after the news of celebrity nude images being stolen and posted on-line. There’s still no proof of a large scale iCloud break-in at this time and, so far, nobody has taken credit for the break-in.

There will be lots of commentary to suggest that the only way to keep sensitive data secure is to not put it on-line in the first place.

Is that really the case? Can data go on-line and be kept private?

In the future everyone will have privacy for fifteen minutes
© The New Yorker

The answer is yes.

If you’re willing to take time to develop a strategy for your data and choose a cloud provider that takes data privacy seriously. So seriously it is endorsed by, among others, Edward Snowden, The New York Times and The New Yorker.

The cloud is now a norm by which we save data, access data and share data. Rather than putting cloud strategies on hold, or blocking cloud access by devices people and organisations should take time to educate themselves about their cloud strategy and the opportunities and risks of uploading (manually or automatically) data to the cloud.

According to SpiderOak, a cloud-storage provider similar to other well-known cloud companies, they apply a zero-knowledge privacy service.  This means that the cloud server never knows the plaintext contents of the data being stored. Data is never at risk of being compromised or abused by internal threats or external hackers or crackers. Basically the data is fully encrypted from when it leaves your device and stays encrypted when it’s on the SpiderOak cloud servers.

This attitude to data privacy by an organisation dispels the myth that once data goes on-line it can no longer be private.

Cloudy with a chance of trouble 

Security breaches are a problem that isn’t going to go away any time soon. For most people convenience and ubiquity win out over security and ultimately privacy. 

Cloud services provide dynamic and scalable resources that permit the rapid deployment of new business models. But a clear vision and value proposition is a pre-requisite for success. To take advantage of cloud opportunities a well-informed and rigorously developed cloud strategy is needed.

The IMI’s Diploma in Cloud Strategy is at the cutting edge of technology and strategy and will enable you to develop a rigorous and practical business case for moving activities to the cloud.

Alan McDonald is a learning design specialist at the IMI. Alan has held a number of management positions in industry-leading organisations such as Apple, IBM Corporation and the Irish League of Credit Unions. His professional background is in corporate learning where he has significant expertise in programme design and delivery, executive and team facilitation, managing in a global matrix environment and executive coaching. 


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