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In debate

Are clouds safe?

If you’re handing over your data to somebody else you want to make sure it’s well looked after. So how safe is the cloud?

Like other distributed computing technologies, clouds have privacy and security controls to ensure that only the people you want to access your data are able to. As clouds store such large amounts of information, they could make attractive targets for hackers, causing cloud providers to continue to develop better security for your data.

Moving components onto third-party clouds could actually provide added resilience against events such as local power loss at sites. Many clouds are backed up at multiple locations, meaning that if one of the provider’s servers goes down your data will still be available from somewhere else.

However it pays to read the small print in your contract. Users often use clouds to store data they no longer use but may need in the future. But a study by experts at Queen Mary University of London, found that cloud contracts sometimes waive responsibility for data storage or delete data if it hasn’t been used in a while.