When we speak of “Cloud” we think first of data storage spaces, such as Dropbox, GoogleDrive or OneDrive. We picture this as personal lockers locked. But it’s much more than that …


A family computer

You have a person who administers it, the big boss and 2 or 3 users. Everyone can access their personal data. Toto cannot see the drawings of his little sister Julie, nor does she access the games of her big brother. But the big boss can see everything. He can censor, block or remove access.

Now let’s change scale … and imagine …

A professional computer

At work, the configuration is a little different. Your company uses a central server. A kind of super computer, powerful enough to handle the queries of all the workers connected at the same time on the company’s network. On this server they store all the data of the company, the software allowing you to work and the result of your activity. The company is in this case, the big boss and the data belongs to him.

Now change scale again … imagine even bigger …

And you will find the “Cloud”

The “Cloud” technique allows you to store data in super-powerful computers and make them accessible to thousands of people online, regardless of location or time.

Cloud-based services administer thousands of user databases and amass a huge amount of data, with which they basically can do whatever they want.

Who use cloud technology today?

Almost everyone use this technology, but on different scales. From the moment there is a “personal” user space with data storage, there is use of the “Cloud” technology.

There is for example Google. On one hand it gives you free access to its applications. And on the other hand, it records and stores all your personal data, your online activity and the use you make of its applications. Microsoft and Apple do the same.

There are also all social networks (Facebook, LinkedIn, Twitter etc.), all the sites of storage and sharing of images and videos (Flickr, Instagram, YouTube, Pinterest, Vimeo, Dropbox etc) Websites where you sign up and become members etc … and even me.

We understand now better why these online services are to be used with caution.

Indeed, each provider is the big boss and has administrator powers on your data. It’s he who will define in which country your data is stored, the tightness of the partitions between each user space and the use that it will make of the data that you provide voluntarily and unintentionally.

While I appreciate the benefits of the cloud

  • The ability to work while synchronizing as you go along with space on the “cloud”
  • Instant interaction with my contacts.
  • Use of applications that simplify life: Search Google, Google Maps, Google Image, YouTube, Google Translate etc.

I am aware of the dangers of the cloud

  1. The risk of losing my data, if the site close or is closed by law. (Eg Mega Upload).
  2. Non-respect of my private life.
  3. Off-border storage of my data and therefore subject to other laws.
  4. Becoming a product that is sold to marketing agencies.
  5. Identity theft becomes a reality.

Precautions to be taken

  • Make a backup of the data and keep it at home in a safe place. (Resolves risk 1)
  • Do not put sensitive or potentially sensitive data on the cloud (limits risks 2 and 3)
  • Consider the internet as a public place where everything is known. This is serious. This is not a “just for fun” game (limits risks 4 and 5)

(Photos : CC0 @ pexels.com)