Is it just me, or is the proliferation of clouds (I mean, Internet clouds) completely out of control? I consider myself a pretty savvy guy, and I try to use decent security when it comes to stuff I leave lying around; but I don’t get crazy about it. I use unguessable (and impossible to remember) passwords. I have a master file of passwords on my computer (and it, itself, is locked behind a password), and a hard copy in my safe.
I’m just not that big a target, so if the NSA is really determined to crack into my Amazon account then they have obviously wasted their time and the taxpayers’ money. As for hackers, why should they bother with me when they can simply open Target like an oyster and get the whole string of pearls?
I don’t consider clouds to be a big security issue, at least for me.
The problem is that I’m no longer sure where my stuff is! Time was, it was either on my hard drive; on a backup of some kind; and, maybe, I’d put it on the web for some specific reason. Now, it’s probably on some cloud server, and I might not even know what account it’s under.
I tried to count up the number of clouds that I’m hooked to, and I actually couldn’t do it! Some of them, I explicitly chose: Dropbox, for example.
I didn’t want to use Dropbox, but I had to share a file with someone and that’s how they wanted it. If I’d known how invasive it is, I might have balked. I didn’t think about the fact that it synchronizes my Dropbox account with a folder on my PC. I also didn’t realize that I could only have one account per Windows user (or maybe even for one PC). That was a bit awkward, because I use a couple of pseudonyms for various (non-nefarious) reasons. I have Dropbox synchronization turned off.
As I said, I didn’t want to use Dropbox; but at least I had a reason to do so. Similarly, since my Android phone defaults to using Google Drive I have no real objection to that. It’s the easiest place to put backups of the files I have on my phone.
My phone comes from Verizon, and Verizon’s cloud came tagging along. Again, that’s not a big deal. My photos get backed up automatically to Verizon, and I can pull them down to my PC whenever I want to print one. I did, however, have to slap Verizon’s hand to keep it from trying to back up all of the photos on my PC.
Oh, and since I can only have one account on Dropbox I also set one up on OneDrive for a different purpose/pseudonym.
My backup software comes with a cloud (which it uses for off site backups). Now that one, I’m really glad to have. I never want to see the charred remains of my PC sitting next to the charred remains of my backup.
Oh, and I use a very nice program called Evernote. I don’t resent that one at all, for a couple of reasons: I can control how busy it gets on my PC; and it is a hugely powerful note program that synchronizes with my phone. To do that trick, it needs a cloud; but it isn’t intrusive at all, since it’s only used in the back end of the program. I can’t recommend Evernote enough. It’s wonderful to be able to take an email or even a web page on my PC, stuff it into a note, and have it available on my phone. It’s also wonderful to be able to share a shopping list between my PC and my phone; and if my wife is afraid I’m buy the wrong style/shape/fragrance of something, I just snap a picture with my phone and stuff it into my shopping list.
Why, though, do I have to have a RealTimes (formerly Real Player) cloud? Worse yet, why do I have to have it’s gizmo running all of the time? I’m sure that with enough research and effort I can figure out how to keep the thing run starting at boot time, but it certainly isn’t obvious.
I could go on, but I think the clouds are installing themselves faster than I can type.