How Secure is your Cloud?

Ask this question, “Where does my file go?” Can the provider provide an audit trail—not just to the individuals with whom you have chosen to share your file, but perhaps more importantly, individuals and organizations you have not chosen to share with. When a file is deleted, is it gone? What surprises may be found six months from now—or six years? Even if the file is not directly shared, what about the content? Providers routinely scrape file content so that full-text searching can be performed. But other purposes can be applied to that scraped content as well: tagging and matching files, recommendations to related services (advertising), and even notifications.

For most service providers, file sharing and collaboration is nothing more than a commodity service. Accessibility trumps security. It is easier to answer the question, “Can I access I my files?” than it is to ask the question, “Who else can access my files?” If the provider cannot or will not answer that second question, then seriously consider what information you are willing to post.

Articles are becoming increasingly common raising this question. Virtually all of the major providers have undergone some form of review and critique. With a commodity service, agreements are limited and often in the favor of the service provider. Some providers have admitted to back-end sharing of data. Some scan the content of all files posted to provide additional services such as directed advertisements and connecting interested parties.

Any service provider that offers “free” or “freemium” service is likely making up the cost through one of these methods. Careful review of the service agreement often demonstrates exactly what rights to security and privacy the end-user is giving up when posting content to these providers.

What’s in a Cloud?

Today, sharing data has never been easier. You drop your files into a special folder on your computer, phone, or tablet, and those files become available to all your devices anywhere you need them. For anyone who has suffered a hardware failure and lost data, or forgot to bring a copy of that critical file needed for a presentation, these new services have become invaluable.

The next step in online storage has become collaboration. Now, instead of just centralizing your personal files (providing access wherever you go, and with whatever device you choose) you can go one step further and provide access to your friends, colleagues, and even clients. Drop the file into the right folder, and someone else can view it.

Major software and hardware companies including Apple and Microsoft, in addition to Google and Dropbox, have recently embraced this capability. The step from personal files anywhere you need them to collaborating with clients is a logical move. Now, instead of dealing with the complexities of physical transfer or email, the file is simply accessible anywhere at any time.

But, where does that file go? Recently, many of these service providers have undergone scrutiny for privacy concerns. The balance between security and accessibility can be difficult to maintain. While providing access to anyone anywhere is very compelling, security becomes important with the simple question, “Who else can access my data?”

For most service providers, file sharing and collaboration is nothing more than a commodity service. Accessibility trumps security. It is easier to answer the question, “Can I access I my files?” than it is to ask the question, “Who else can access my files?” If the provider cannot or will not answer that second question, then seriously consider what information you are willing to post.

With security of confidential data being a top concern for many organizations and individuals, collaboration software is a popular option. Providing your business with a secure location for the data that you manage, both in-house and with external clients, AMS-Collaborator is a solution that meets those private, collaboration needs. Contrary to other popular data sharing sites and software, AMS-Collaborator allows you ownership of your data, with a primary goal of sharing and protecting your data.

How does AMS-Collaborator secure your data in a way that Cloud computing does not? Tune in for “Securing Your Cloud” to learn how this collaboration software protects your data while allowing private interactions and collaboration with your clients.