Opinion

Cloud computing's hidden costs, part three

It can be expensive if you have a careless cloud looking after your data.

Many of these providers are more clown than cloud service providers. Your business could be found found on the hard drives sold by the Cloud provider. Don't laugh, it's already happened.

When data is deleted on a hard drive it is not rendered inaccessible the data blocks are merely marked as available. So unless the Cloud provider takes steps to shred this data, it is potentially available to other users or purchasers of the equipment. We know that but, amazingly, many cloud service providrs seem not to, as a recent study found.

Sensitive information for shooting down intercontinental missiles as well as bank details and NHS records was found on old computers, by researchers from BT and the University of Glamorgan.

Of 300 hard disks bought randomly at computer fairs and an online auction site, 34% still held personal data. They bought disks from the UK, America, Germany, France and Australia.

The information was enough to expose individuals and firms to fraud and identity theft, said the study.

"It's not rocket science," said Glamorgan University's Professor Andrew Blyth, "we used standard tools to analyse the data." 

This was first published in August 2011

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