Productivity and Security

balance scale

With advent of Internet based productivity tools we gain access to useful tools, convenience and flexibility of working anywhere but this does not happen with out any costs and risks. The main one is that you store your data o someone’s computer. That is not wrong but it requires certain degree of precautions and consideration of costs and benfits.

The whole market of internet productivity tools is booming. I’m not talking about just online calendars or task manager there are many more tools, full office suites comprising of word processors, presentation creators, spread sheet tools, mind mapping, chart plotting. You name it probably exists. On top of that there are services that allow us backup, store and share information on internet. There are even computers being sold that only have  a browser.

This boom of internet services is great, it benefits us all in many different ways but it does not come for free. We are trading part of the security and privacy  in order to gain a convenience , ease of use and access. We are passing our information to a third party and as result we no longer have 100% control over it.

Mark Hurst in the book makes a good point re owning the data:

Bits are truly owned by the user only when they’re…

stored on the user’s own hardware, not on someone else’s website

accessible via the file system,not locked up in an application saved in a non-proprietary,

DRM-free format like ASCII, not a proprietary format like Word.

(Bit Literacy: Productivity in the Age of Information and E-mail Overload (Mark Hurst)Page 164)

In the last few months there was a number of hacks and security breaches at different companies. Sony was hacked numerous times while company running Dropbox allowed user to login with out a password and changed their terms of service that aggravated many. As result some decided to abandon Dropbox completely, you can read about this here and here.

Before jumping on board with any online service check few things:

  • define what is private and should remain such?
  • use encryption and password protection before sending stuff online
  • decide on level of privacy and security you’re comfortable with
  • make sure your read and understand terms of service.

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