The internet was originally invented as a network for US defence laboratories to share data and resources. Today, it has become the simplest and easiest way for governments, companies, institutions, and ordinary individuals all over the world to communicate and exchange information with each other. The internet has become a huge interconnected repository of data that can easily be accessed through a computer, laptop, tablet or smartphone.
Benefits of online data sharing
For thousands of years, mankind struggled with physical limitations that restricted free exchange of information. The human voice is not audible over long distances. Information written on tree barks, leaves, or paper decays with the passage of time. Modern solutions like the telephone cannot be used for mass communication. The internet has solved this age-old problem by enabling all individuals connected to a network to share data and information with each other.
Today, your family holiday photos can be shared with all your friends and relatives in a moment. You just need to upload the photos to a site that allows you to share images with your contacts; even panoramic images can be shared. Once this is done, your friends and relatives can access the images at their own convenience. A task that would have stretched over weeks or even months can be, thanks to the internet, completed in a few minutes.
Online data storage can also facilitate faster and more efficient decisions for businesses. Today, a firm can go through dozens of panoramic images and identify the preferred image for use in the firm’s logo, website, or brochure even if the photographer is located halfway across the world. Travel firms can share real-time photos of popular holiday destinations to help potential clients make an informed decision.
Storing data online makes it accessible from any device that is connected to the internet. Accessing photos stored on the hard disk of your desktop computer will require you to be close to your computer. Uploading the information online will allow you to access your favourite photos from any location as long as you have an internet-enabled device.
However, it is important for websites and online service providers to distinguish between public and private data. While public data can and should be accessible to all, it is very important to ensure private data is accessible only to those who have permission to access such data. People who share information online do so because they are certain that their data cannot fall into the wrong hands. Lack of data security can threaten the very existence of the internet.
An online leak of something as innocuous as a holiday image can pose a threat to your family’s security. The knowledge that you are on a holiday may encourage thieves to break into your home. There should be absolutely no compromises as far as the security of online data is concerned.
Risks of ignoring online security
Ignoring virtual security or adopting a casual approach towards online data safety can lead to disastrous consequences for websites and online data sharing service providers. For starters, this will put their system at risk of virus infections and hacking attempts. It is a misconception that installing an antivirus program or merely utilizing the Open SSL encryption protocol is enough to minimize security risks.
Hackers and other malicious elements are constantly inventing new ways to break into secure systems. In some cases, newer releases of a previously secure computer program or protocol may contain bugs that can be exploited to break into the system and access or steal private data. The Heart bleed bug put numerous businesses using a newly released version of Open SSL at risk. The point here is that you should never make the mistake of treating online security as a one-time exercise.
A website that has allowed its user data to be hacked or stolen is unlikely to be trusted in the future. A hack or a virus infection can be undone. However, loss of credibility and trustworthiness amongst your customers may be impossible to recover. This is why it is better to be safe than sorry as far as online data security is concerned.
There can never be a permanent solution for the potential risk of exposure of online data. Just as the sturdiest door can be broken and the strongest safe can be cracked, even the most secure protocol or software can, with time and effort, be bypassed. The best way to keep your online data safe is to follow proper virtual security practices, and to always rely on service providers and websites that treat security as their top priority.