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In the Cloud(s)

I'm writing this from Bothell WA, 98021. It's raining: no surprise there. I'm thinking cloudy and I'm also thinking Clouds, as in some of the largest Cloud providers on the Internet are located in the Seattle area.

We've heard the Cloud talk for quite a while now. Google tells us that one Eric Schmidt in 2006 "took the opportunity to use the term "cloud computing" in an attempt to steal some of the thunder from the Amazon Elastic Compute Cloud which was also launching later that same month in 2006.

The Cloud is something that is becoming ubiquitous, with and more and more applications that store photos and stuff for you. If you buy an Amazon Kindle Fire you are going to be connected to the Amazon Cloud because the Kindle Fire device doesn't have much storage capacity for your stuff, images, books, so forth. In moving forward with all this cloudiness you may wonder about storing your stuff on somebody else's computer, which is exactly what you are doing if you use The Cloud.

The question is: "Do I trust the outfit storing my stuff,” especially if my stuff is personal-sensitive-valuable? Now we start talking about the Public Cloud vs. the Private Cloud. Most of the Cloud talk that you hear regards the use of the Public Cloud that is managed by somebody else and is offered sometimes quite cheaply for your use.

If you need to store 'stuff' on a computer and you have to decide between public and private you must decide how sensitive your information/data is. If it is financial, for instance, it's PRIVATE. Sorry, I didn't mean to shout.

Mark Gibb wrote an interesting option in a May article in Networkworld. "SpiderOak provides cloud-based backup, file synchronization, and file sharing across multiple machines running different operating systems. What makes SpiderOak noteworthy? Zero-Knowledge Privacy Standard. Data leaving your computer is encrypted before it gets transferred and SpiderOak has no way to view your content. The feds could, it is claimed, subpoena SpiderOak to their heart's content and SpiderOak could tell them nothing. (The data is strongly encrypted) So, if you have deep, dark secrets that need backing up and or sharing this could be the service for you."

This mentality is allowing you to store data on somebody else's computer (server in The Cloud) that can't be read by anybody but you, or someone that you allow. It is going to be a popular alternative to public-read, cloudy, stored 'stuff' that you don't have ultimate direct control over.

You should be seeing more outfits offering this type of service, where you share data only with those you choose by giving them a decryption key.