Tuesday, December 6, 2011

Hotel Rooms, Clouds, Data, and You.

As I sit here in a hotel, I can’t stop thinking about safety and security, especially when it comes to my computer and all the information on it.

Thankfully, while I haven’t heard of anyone I know having their computer stolen from a hotel room, I DO know of friends whose laptops have been stolen from their homes. In all cases, the information was backed up. Whew!

Also noticed that computers just don’t fit in hotel room safes.

But wait a minute…I don’t even see a safe in this room, though it is a swanky place. And should I feel secure just because some semi-retired person glances at me as I stroll to the elevators?  SOMETIMES they ask to see my room card. So technically, anyone can slip by and go wherever they want. Security? Ha.

But wait! You can prevent the worst from happening to you. Nowadays, there’s something called Cloud Computing. Oh, it’s been around awhile, it just didn’t have a name. Basically, it’s the ability to access your data and / or software from anywhere; think of it as being up in a cloud in a big beautiful sky. For many years, I’ve been able to access software and databases that I’m subscribed to via any computer; I just need to sign on and do what I need to do. Even your email accounts such as Hotmail and Gmail are a part of Cloud Computing.

Great! So what does this mean? It means that you can back up the data on your computer into a cloud. Now how convenient is THAT? In the near future, we won’t be lugging around laptops anymore and accessing our data from “wherever” …so why not start now?

What are the other options? An external hard drive for starters, however, if you’re someone who accumulates masses of photos like I do, you could easily run out of space in a short period of time. And yes, you could buy another hard drive, but isn’t this starting to sound complicated?

Another alternative is saving data on jump drives and discs; both very limiting. Remember when we thought that floppy disks were amazing?

Why DO we have so much information nowadays? Because we can! Take photos, for example. Used to be that you had to line up that ONE good shot because you only had 20 on the roll.  Your prints were either good or bad, but you shared them with everyone regardless. Nowadays, with digital, you can take 20, 30 or 40 of the same object from various angles, etc. and pick just one.

Do you save the remaining 39 or do you delete them? The storage space erodes very quickly if you hang on to them all.

Of course, data backups translate to data as well; spreadsheets, word docs, PowerPoint presentations. Luckily, the first two don’t take up a lot of space, but presentations can, dependent on how graphical they are.

Now you’re probably worrying about all that data on your computer. According to recent information from Kroll Ontrack, while most folks place high importance on the information in their computers, close to a quarter do absolutely NO backups and about two-thirds back up their data less than once a month.


Now you know why I’ve written this. Perhaps getting the message out can prevent some unwanted aggravation.

In respect to cloud computing, click here for a tune about how “clouds got in my way.”

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Shannon Grissom said...

Ya make me smile Gerry~ I really don't know clouds... at all :O)

Gerry Wendel said...

Shannon, all you have to do is observe them from both sides now...