Cloud services

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What are cloud services?

Cloud services are computer services produced using cloud computing. The processing and/or storage of data is performed on a pool of computers with external suppliers accessed on the internet, typically with a web front end.

Clod services are typically simple and cheap to use for the individual user. Being accessed through simple web intrerfaces and/or mobile apps, they are available from various types of computers and devices, e.g. pads and smart phones.

Examples of cloud services

Cloud services for storing and exchanging data:

  • Dropbox
  • Google Disk / Google Drive
  • iCloud
  • Evernote

Cloud services for processing data:

  • Google Documents
  • Microsoft Office 365

Sercurity concerns with cloud services

When you use cloud services, you leave your data to an external supplier with whom you may have an unclear customer relationship. There will be an end user license, determining what tha supplier may do with the data stored and handled or data collected about you as a user. This license may grant the supplier much freedom to use the data. You have no control over where data are physically stored or who participates in the handling of them. The customer relationship is not governed by norwegian legislation. There have been examples of security breaches in cloud services causing unwanted distribution of data.

In june 2013 it became widely known that suppliers of cloud services hand over data to US intelligence. This is an aspect of using such services that you should be aware of, especially if you handle personal data or information which may be politically sensitive or for other reasons subject of intnernational intelligence or surveillance.

On this background, please consider these basic securiy rules before using cloud services:

  • Do not store your data in cloud services only. Always keep a copy on another secure location, e.g. UiB file storage.
  • Do not store sensitive data, e.g. personal information or confidential research data.