Posts Tagged ‘cloud’

Intrusive technology: Is 2014 the year the consumer puts its foot down?

February 3, 2014

Privacy

It’s no secret that technology is evolving at a rapid pace. It gives us an incredible amount of choice, and enables us to do much more with much less. But an increasing number of privacy scandals in the media has prompted consumers to question if they’re actually becoming victims of the technology they can’t live without.

2014 sees us on the edge of a dilemma: is this the year the public puts its foot down and demands more privacy and tighter regulation, or are we OK with giving away our information as long as we get something worthwhile in return?

Towards the end of last year, supermarket giant Tesco announced it would be installing facial recognition screens to its petrol stations that would scan the eyes of queuing customers to distinguish age and gender, as well as monitor customer purchases. Using this information, as well as other contributing factors like time and date, Tesco can tailor the digital ads a customer sees in-store.

A step too far?

Some argue that this is a milestone advance in the way we create and consume advertising. By learning more about us, companies are able to provide us with more relevant information and create a more enjoyable shopping experience. Fair enough. But how much are we willing to give away in this trade-off? There is an entire personal profile of each of us sitting in a big database somewhere, and we have no choice but to trust that companies are using this for our benefit.

Facebook recently admitted they not only track and analyse user clicks, but also their mouse movements, in order to create the most intuitive on-screen experience. And although Google maintain that they have always operated transparently, it’s only recently that the intrusive nature of their email scanning has fully entered the public domain. Even though these internet giants state they don’t use “sensitive” information for advertising, this still seems like a step too far. We’re nearing ever closer to the line between justified market research, to an invasion of privacy, to just downright creepy. The problem is: who decides where that line is? Google’s mantra is “don’t be evil”, which seems noble enough. But why do they get to decide? People are starting to make their own minds up on the matter.

The backlash is imminent

Figures from Databarracks’ 2013 Data Health Check show that nearly two thirds (64%) of UK organisations have started restricting employee use of cloud services like Dropbox and iCloud for fears of security issues, and it’s just a matter of time before consumers start regulating their personal use too.

The recent increase in media attention on the subject of privacy has made us more aware of the risks of sharing information online. At BuddyBackup, we tend to hear from a lot of people who feel much more comfortable sharing their data with family or friends, or setting up their own system, rather than relying on a third party service.  Even so, the most common questions we receive are about how we handle data and what information we need to hold in order to be able to connect one Buddy to another. Consumers are becoming more proactive than ever in restricting what companies can share, as well as backing up and encrypting what is stored on personal devices.

While we can control what we share online for the most part, intrusive technologies like facial recognition and email scanning can’t be opted out of, unless the service is boycotted completely. Consumers don’t want to sacrifice personal information for good service – companies either have to increase transparency of the way they collect and use our data, or face the imminent backlash of the more privacy-savvy customer in 2014.

Author: Cassie Holmes, BuddyBackup

Is your digital footprint stomping on your chance of career progression?

November 4, 2013

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You hear a lot these days about the dangers of hackers, cloners and spyware, and the risks they pose to your identity. But how much thought do you give to the information you voluntarily share online? Your digital footprint could pose more of a threat than you think.

We’re constantly being encouraged to be digital, to share our opinions on discussion boards, to post our photos on social media sites – but this freedom of speech can be very damaging to your personal and professional reputation. The state of California has recently introduced a law allowing teenagers to delete certain elements of their digital footprints, in the hopes of giving them a better chance of employment. But, with over a third of employers checking candidates’ social media sites during the interview process, surely it would just be better to prevent the need for damage control in the first place?

Keep track of your footprint

Search for yourself regularly online and browse the results. A lot of sites aren’t exactly forthcoming about their privacy policies – you’ll usually need to change your settings from the defaults in order to ensure your information is not searchable by anyone else. Keep on top of policy updates too, because more often than not you’ll have to opt out of new policies in order to protect your privacy.

Go through search results and remove yourself from directories and mailing lists that you may have inadvertently signed up to, as they could be storing personal information that is publicly accessible.

Use it to your advantage

Of course, the internet can be used to your advantage. You can create a positive online name for yourself that can enhance your chances of progression. Showcase your creativity by posting engaging content or interesting blog posts, so when employers search for you online, what they find are the musings of a knowledgeable and passionate employee.

Sites like LinkedIn and Twitter are the perfect place to do some professional networking. You can connect with colleagues and industry peers, contribute to online discussions, and create a strong profile that will stand out from the crowd. It’s a good idea to create separate accounts for personal and business use, so the pictures from your wild night out are kept hidden.

Don’t forget about it

Privacy policies are continually changing, and new ways of sharing information online are being developed all the time. Every time you sign up for a new site, or agree to be added to a mailing list, you are adding to your digital footprint. Every few months revisit your settings, and delete anything that you wouldn’t want your employer to see.

We are completely open with our privacy policy (if you want, you can have a read of it here!), and we will always notify our users of any changes that will affect them. Protecting the privacy of your data is a big factor, especially when using a cloud-based backup service, and so we try our best to prove security is our priority.

Ultimately, digital footprints are unavoidable; most people these days have one before they’re even born. But they’re not going anywhere, and they’re not something to be feared if you keep on top of them. Capitalise on yours and turn into your own unique selling point – it could become a unique tool for career progression.

 

Author: Cassie Holmes, Buddy Backup

Worried About Storing Your Data in the Cloud? BuddyBackup offers a Free and Secure Online Alternative

June 17, 2011

With question marks surrounding the safety of data stored in the cloud, highlighted recently by Amazon’s huge EC2 cloud crash, BuddyBackup allows PC users to store their information remotely, resiliently and for nothing.

BuddyBackup’s newly improved software lets users back-up unlimited data onto spare disk space on their friends’, family’s or colleagues’ computers for free. The system uses military-grade encryption so your ‘buddies’ can’t see your files.

“It gives users peace of mind to know that their files are backed up to people they know and trust and not an unknown server in cyberspace with questionable security levels,” says BuddyBackup Manager, Mark Couvaras.

Large servers face continuous threats from hackers as seen in the case of Sony, which led to data being stolen from 77 million accounts in April and a further attack this month with 1 million account details and passwords being accessed.

As seen, even the largest cloud operations are not immune to disasters; customers lost data permanently when Amazon’s EC2 cloud service crashed.

“In the past, online storage companies have been taken over resulting in data being lost. Others have gone bust, leaving customers unable to retrieve their files,” warns Mark.

“What’s more, terms and conditions can change, meaning that some unscrupulous companies might start charging you for storage if you want to get your data back.”

“BuddyBackup is a simple, secure and free alternative to the cloud. It’s robust because you can scatter your documents, photos, music and videos across lots of friends. And the more buddies you back up to, the safer your files are,” adds Mark.

Once a full back-up is completed, BuddyBackup constantly monitors your computer for changes and only uploads files that have been added or altered. The software backs up continuously as long as your buddies are online. If they’re not, the changes will be made as soon as they are back on again.

Buddybackup’s latest upgrade means you can now choose who the files should be backed up to, and how many backups should be made. For example, you can now set it so that your most vital files are backed up to 3 remotely located buddies, whereas your music is backed up only once to your USB drive. That way you don’t waste time and space making lots of backups of files which are less important.

“As well as serving home users, it’s a free and easy way for employees to back-up data on their laptops to a central computer in the office,” adds Mark.

“Plus, because you’re avoiding an online storage company or cloud server, BuddyBackup doesn’t add to the energy burden from power-hungry data centres, making it a greener option too.”

http://www.buddybackup.com – available in 11 different languages.

Watch a YouTube demonstration at http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=OPILoWgnL8E

Ends

For more information, please contact:

Leonie Guguen
Communications Manager, BuddyBackup
Tel: +44 (0) 161 408 5040
Email: leonie.guguen@buddybackup.com