At URTech.ca we are pretty serious about tech and tech these days includes “the cloud”. The problem is that most people really don’t understand what “the cloud” is and so this video will quickly clear up any questions you have:
Ok… that was pretty damn funny and is most places “safe for the office” but the question remains of what is the cloud… seriously. The simplest and very correct way to explain “the cloud” is that it is just someone else’s computer that you connect to through the internet.
When we say someone else’s computer, we should pluralize it to “computers”. The is because these companies break even an individual picture up into thousands of of tiny bits and then copy them across thousands of computers so that your pictures, files, are safe if something fails.
There are thousands of major data centers in the world and here are just a few of them from the names you know like Microsoft, Amazon, Facebook and Google:
You can see below that many of these data centers are massive and take vast quantities of electricity to keep them cool. Many of these buildings are what called “lights out” facilities, which means that there is so little human interaction on the floors that the lights are turned off in an effort to reduce electricity costs.
Notice the pictures of the steel tank; that is Microsoft’s latest experiment in which the put hundreds of servers in to a pressurized tank and then put it in the ocean to see if it was a practical way to reduce the very high cooling needs these data centers have:
It’s easy to make fun of “the cloud” as this insure place where no one and nothing should be trusted but in fact these facilities have some of the toughest security on the globe most exceeding US Government and even Military requirements. Check out this short video of the Chicago Microsoft Data Center:
The problem is that they are such big juicy targets that hackers, especially ones with unlimited time and money (i.e. governments like Russia, China, the US and UK), that they are doomed to be successfully attacked at some point in the future.
Take a look at this short 6 minute video explaining how even a notable IT professional was hacked just by answering questions:
What are you going to do about it? If you keep your data local it still prone to hacking and it is way more likely to be lost in a failure or a physical theft (when you house gets broken into) that these data centers ever would be.
Well the answer to data security is the same logic that you apply to investing your money… keep it in multiple places you trust. Keep a copy on your PC and in Microsoft OneDrive… plus back it up to an external disk once in a while.