Wednesday, June 23, 2010

Is Your Future Clouded?

By Aleshia Altizer

Do you use web-based email like Gmail, enjoy online banking/bill paying, or use an online file storage device? If so, you’re already taking advantage of cloud computing. There are differing definitions, but basically, “cloud” is another word for the internet; and cloud computing is where data or software is stored, accessed or shared via the cloud. In other words, instead of having physical access to a computer or hard drive, data can be stored remotely on computer servers and accessed through providers. This enables users to access their data from anywhere and from any net-enabled device. An article from MSN cites a report from the Pew Internet and American Life Project that found 69% of online Americans use at least one cloud service. A Forbes article cites a statistic from Cisco that 1 trillion devices are expected to be connected to the cloud by 2013. Just imagine how much information could eventually be stored in the cloud! This could also open a whole new realm of privacy concerns; and points out that there aren’t standards for security in the cloud, yet.
Cloud computing has big possibilities for companies, as well. A New York Times article explains that cloud providers hope companies will stop building and managing their own data centers, and instead use the provider’s computer capacity. According to the article, though many companies are still cautious about entrusting data to the cloud, many including NASA have begun to utilize cloud technology to some degree.
This is the digital age and we’re charting a whole new frontier: With it comes increasing concerns over privacy, cybercrime, and identity theft. In light of all this, it’s important to have an identity theft service in place along with access to legal counsel so you can understand and stay on top of new and existing laws and know how they apply to you. It’s clear in times like these the need for legal and identity theft services is only growing.

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Aleshia Altizer is a Corporate Writer at Pre-Paid Legal Services, Inc. Pre-Paid Legal's signature products, including the Life Events Legal Plan and Identity Theft Shield, serve more than 1.5 million families in North America.

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