The Smartwatch: An Opportunity for the Cloud

Now that two titans are in the smartwatch war (and possibly others), I’m getting excited The Smartwatch: An Opportunity for the Cloud image Engadget Samsung Smartwatch 300x1781The Smartwatch: An Opportunity for the Cloudabout the idea of using a wearable to access my information. Even though the smartwatch is not a standalone device, it communicates with a designated smartphone and tablet. It take all of this information (sort of a personal version of an “Internet of Things”) and compiles it in a way that enables users to read e-mails, text messages, and postings on social media sites. You can even access your calendar and a variety of apps. All on one watch!

So, I guess you can consider the smartwatch as a remote control for your life. Yikes!

If you have all these devices, where do you store your data?

Nowadays, we all know how to synch everything with our laptops. But going forward, this will all go to the cloud.

Yep, the cloud. “The cloud” will no longer be coined in the server rooms at work. The cloud will affect everything in our personal lives, too.

And for companies like Samsung, this is a big opportunity. Samsung wants you to buy its smartwatch that talks to your Samsung smartphone, which communicates with your Samsung tablet. And all of the data contained in these devices can be stored in Samsung’s cloud. If you think about it, it would make a great bundle plan!

5 steps to keep your personal data safe in the cloud

The idea of having your personal information swirling out there in cyberspace can be very scary. The cloud may be fine for your pictures and music. But is it possible to really trust a third party with your appointment calendar, private e-mails, and apps that track your checking account?

There are 5 steps you can take to proactively protect your data:

1. Think carefully about whom you want to access your files

Typically, cloud storage services allow you to set one of three settings to control who can view your files:

  • Private – Only your eyes can view the files.
  • Public – Everyone can access the data without any restrictions.
  • Shared – Only people you invite can view the information.

2. Choose your passwords carefully

Like most online services, access to your data is controlled with your chosen username and password. And the voice of reason has always told us to create a password that’s unique (i.e., never before used) and strong for each online – and now cloud – service. Should an unfortunate hacking event happen to one of your cloud services, intruders might attempt to use the same credentials to access your remaining cloud services.

3. Understand – or better yet, memorize – the storage provider’s terms, conditions, and privacy notice

A solid cloud storage provider should have clear information on their Web site about how they secure personal information and what they will or will not do with it. If not, keep looking for another provider.

Take special note of your responsibilities, the service agreement, and the provider’s certifications. Stay informed on security protections being offered and how and when maintenance, patches, and upgrades will take place.

4. Make sure the cloud storage provider encrypts your data

A cloud storage provider might store your data in an encrypted form and keep the key in a safe and secure location. When you use your username and password to log into the service, they will decrypt your files so that you can access them. This means that you can invite other people to log in and view your files because the storage provider manages the encryption.

Data can also be encrypted by your Web browser, so that it cannot be read or modified along the way while it’s being sent between you and the cloud storage provider. If you are using a Web browser, you’ll see a padlock symbol and the URL will start with ‘https://’. Once your files are received by the cloud provider, they will be decrypted. If you want your files stored in an encrypted form, you should encrypt them yourself before you send them or use a cloud storage provider that encrypts them on your behalf.

5. Encrypt your information before placing it in the cloud

The most secure way to use a cloud storage service is to encrypt your files before they leave your computer. If you hold the encryption key, no one else will be able to easily decrypt your files and read or use your personal information. The only downside is that you will not be able to share this information with anyone without also sharing the encryption key, which can be difficult to manage.

If the encryption feature is important to you, look for a cloud storage provider that includes this as part of their service. Another option is to do it yourself by using software from a trusted and reliable third party. There are also a number of free or low-cost encryption software tools available. But remember, software from the Internet you be obtained from a reputable source. You can check reviews to ensure that the software has been tested against the claims that it makes.

Whatever you do, don’t forget the key! You will not be able to decrypt your data without it.

The personal cloud is here…get ready

Are getting ready to purchase Samsung’s smartwatch in October 2? Well, make sure that your personal data on your devices remain secure. If you select the right cloud storage provider and take the right steps, you’ll be able to sport that new gizmo on your arm and use it to its fullest potential.

What do you think? Are there any steps you would add to this checklist for securing your personal data in the cloud?

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