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advocacy community education
18
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super computer more than two million,
million, million years to decrypt a mes-
sage protected by that level of encryp-
tion. Many services now even use
256-bit encryption. While it might
sound like 256-bit encryption would be
twice as secure as 128-bit, the bits are
exponential so it is actually 2 to the
128
th
power times as secure kind of
like multiplying infinity by infinity.
While all of these scenarios (people
stealing computers out of our offices,
jumping off of waterfalls with devices in
our pockets, hackers capturing email
communications) may seem far out
there, it's enough of an issue that leg-
islators are getting involved.
To illustrate this, we need look no fur-
ther than the Massachusetts bill 201
CMR 17.00. This bill requires busi-
nesses to adequately encrypt any pri-
vate client data that they keep on a
mobile device or laptop or send over
the internet. While that does not nec-
essarily apply to accountants in
Connecticut, it is important to note that
the bill explicitly states that "every per-
son who owns, licenses, stores or main-
tains personal information about a
resident of the Commonwealth [of
Massachusetts]" is subject to the bill.
So if you have clients in Massachusetts,
this applies to you as well.
It is clear that digital security will
become more of an issue rather than
less as time goes on, so everyone
should at least have these issues on
their radar. Many other states have
geared up at least some legislation
around digital security and this trend
will most likely continue.
So what is the cloud and how can it
help with these challenges? Well, first
of all, the cloud is nothing new.
Remember when Hotmail launched
back in 1996 or Yahoo Mail launched in
1997? That was using the cloud 15
years ago.
Nothing has changed, really, since
then, other than that the proliferation of
high-speed Internet bandwidth (that
lets us all stay connected all the time,
for better or worse) and mobile devices
(laptops, Blackberrys, iPhones, iPads,
etc.) make it possible to do a lot more
than just keep your email hosted online
and available anywhere.
The cloud isn't anything more than a lot
of servers owned and managed by a
third party (the likes of Google,
Microsoft, Amazon, and others) that
can store your data and allow you to
access it from wherever you are with
whatever device you want.
That natural gut reaction is often to say,
"There is no way I'm going to keep my
Cloud Computing
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