CNET Next Big Thing: The cloud--servicesThe first red flag raised when considering a life in the cloud is security. With identity theft already a major concern, how is the average person expected to trust the protective measures for online services? Molly Wood uncovers one user's experience.
[ Music ] ^M00:00:09 >> Online services and apps that store your information remotely range from e-mail to streaming music and television to photo sharing to complete storage and content delivery solutions that you can run a business of. Now, when most of the stuff you create live somewhere other than your computer at home, it's probably in what we call the cloud. And that's where you'll find Dr. George Lai, a full-time physician and part-time geek. >> I love the Google Web-based services, such as Gmail and Google Docs. I use them to communicate and collaborate with family members, as well as colleagues. I do use flickr some. I upload some photos there. Hulu -- we watch TV and movies on Hulu at home. For development I use an application called Balsalmac [phonetic]. >> Sure it's convenient to store all your e-mail online, share documents with your family and even mock-up applications you're developing, but Dr. Lai doesn't have his head completely in the clouds -- at least not yet. >> I would say in terms of the Google data, I obviously store much of that online. A lot of the Google Docs I try to take off line, as well just as a reassurance policy. >> Part of it is trust, Dr. Lai says, but the other part is that data anywhere requires access anywhere. >> The cloud obviously is conducive to a lot of data, but you have to be connected all the time in order to access that data. There might come a time when I trust the -- the reliability of cloud services. >> Then there's the security... >> Do I worry if someone can access the information? Sure. I definitely worry about that especially, you know e-mail. For example for Google using one password to access Google Docs, Google Gmail, Google Talk is a concern. You know if somebody accesses that information, then they have access to everything. >> So it's fine to store calendars, e-mail, photos and maybe even application development plans in the cloud, but Dr. Lai is only willing to go so far. >> Right now, a lot of health services, I would not feel as comfortable in using only because I don't know where this data is going to. You know Google Health and Microsoft HealthVault, they both offer services where users can actually upload or input data about their health, but to be honest I don' know what they're doing with this information. I'm sure there are hackers out there that can break into any system. So I think all services are prone to that, but there are you know ways to lock down data that's secure. >> There's no question though that people all over the world are more and more comfortable putting more and more information online. Why? It's just so easy. >> These Web apps make my life easier because first of all you don't have to downloading the application if it's all online, as long as it's relatively easy to access and fairly user-friendly, web apps are great. ^M00:03:16 [ Music ]