How To Use The Cloud Without Risk
Storing movies, photos, music and online data is convenient. But it can also be imprudent. Our tips for enjoying the cloud, without clouds.
The numbers are dizzying: at the end of 2014, there were about 300 exabytes of data stored in the cloud worldwide or 7% of the data produced on Earth. The equivalent of 450 billion DVDs, 90,000 billion photos or MP3s or 37 billion pages of text! It is estimated that one in five Europeans already uses the cloud to save files and share them. Cloud computing is the ability to access remotely and from any device files (email, calendar, photos, music, videos …), which are no longer saved in the memory of your computer or your smartphone, but on a powerful central server. Problem: You must have an Internet connection, and the data stored online is potentially portable. Thus, in September, hackers managed to penetrate the servers of iCloud, the service of Apple, to steal the naked pictures that celebrities had placed there. Very personal shots of the actress Jennifer Lawrence or the singer Rihanna were found on social networks.
On the business side, the cloud makes it possible to use the online software without having to install it on all the users’ workstations. Another advantage: do not have to invest regularly to increase storage capacity, at risk of becoming overcapacity thereafter. There is only to adapt the package to the needs. Computers running at full speed only at the holidays, Amazon has had the idea, in 2002, to rent its servers during slow periods. Since then, IBM, Google, Apple, Amazon, and Microsoft have launched their cloud solutions and several other companies are on the list, such as Cisco, which has announced a $ 1 billion plan to create a new cloud service. By 2020, the market is expected to be more than $ 190 billion. Our advice to see more clearly.
- Is it safe?
Overall, yes. But in the same way that you can have your email password stolen, the cloud password can be forced. The best way to protect yourself is to choose the right mix: it must be complex and not used for other services. “A strong password is at least ten characters, of three different types (numbers, letters, special characters),” advises Eric Filiol, Director of Security Research at ESIEA (School of Computer Engineers). Try a simple mechanism: the first two letters of the site, always the same four digits, and the last two letters of the site, backing them a notch in the alphabet. And modify it with each security incident (alert of your antivirus, abnormal behavior of your computer).
- Can everything be stored in the cloud?
Since the cloud is not foolproof, any potentially sensitive data should not be there. “For individuals, we are in the subjective, says Gabriel Chateau, the security specialist for Vision Solutions. The naked photo of a star does not have the same interest as that of Mrs. Michu. “Ask yourself if a document in nature could harm you. That a stranger uncovers your pay slip will not change your life. If he has your RIB in his hands, it’s more embarrassing.
- Where is my data actually stored?
In huge data centers spread over four continents. In Europe, Microsoft and Google have one in Dublin, but nothing says that this is where the European data goes: they can very well be stored on the US territory. Your data may also have been copied to multiple centers to prevent them from being lost in the event of an incident.
This is not without problems: privacy laws are more or less flexible depending on the country, and there is no guarantee that confidential data in France are elsewhere. For example, the Patriot Act allows the US government to dig into the servers of its companies in the event of a terrorist threat. “But we have information that tells us that Americans use this pretext to recover other data, warns Eric Filiol. It’s not paranoia, it’s a reality. ”