“Cloud computing” is an IT term for storing information online as opposed to locally on a computer’s hard drive. “The cloud” refers to the Internet. Storing information on the web is not a new phenomenon. For example, many people already use services like Google’s Drive for handling word processing; they may also use webmail to send their email. Both online word processing and webmail are examples of cloud computing in that they require the use of servers far away from the user to store information and to run software. In recent years, the concept of cloud computing has become more popular as the technology has become more efficient. A growing number of people are now handling an increasing array of tasks online via their browsers instead of with locally installed software. There are benefits and drawbacks to this, for example:
Benefits of Storing Information Online in the Cloud
- Users have access to their data wherever they can connect to the internet. They may even be able to access their data via a smartphone or tablet.
- Information stored online removes the necessity of carrying around flash drives and other storage media which can easily be lost.
- It is not necessary to keep up with the latest versions of software or to manually update programs on a local computer. All updates are handled by the service provider on their end.
- One of the major problems with having a lot of data on a local computer is that it can slow it down. Storing information online in the cloud has the major benefit of freeing up hard drive space and making computers faster.
- If a computer crashes or is infected with viruses, the user may not be able to recover their data. However, when it is stored in the cloud, that information can easily be recovered. Most established cloud storage providers will also ensure that data is backed up so that if anything goes wrong on their end, the user’s information will always be secure.
Downsides of Storing Information Online
- A user can install antivirus software and take various steps to protect data on a local computer but with cloud computing they must trust their provider to do all of that. Reputable providers will ensure that measures are in place to protect the data of their customers. It is the user’s responsibility to find providers that offer quality information security.
- If the cloud service is for some reason unavailable, the user will be completely unable to access their data. For an individual or business with a deadline and who is unable to get to critical files, this can be a serious problem.
With more and more individuals and businesses storing data online, the potential for criminals to profit from data breaches grows. That is where information security comes in; the “infosec” field is quickly becoming a popular one among IT professionals. A professional with an MS in Information Security will implement the measures that keep confidential data from falling into the wrong hands. Experts in information security are already in high demand and the need for them is expected to grow. Those wishing to take this career-path will need an information security degree along with IT experience and a variety of industry certifications. An established master’s degree program at an accredited university can provide the skills that are essential for a career fighting cybercrime.