Cloud computing, after years of incubation as an idea of those in the tech industry, finally took off in 2011. The cloud has become a topic of hot discussion, and there are two main schools of thought surrounding it. On one side there is a large contingent of people who argue that cloud computing will become the primary form of computing. As this side sees it, instead of seeing the cloud as an accessory to our computing, we will instead view it as a built-in component of it.

Then there is another camp of people who are far more cynical about the cloud’s potential for widespread adoption. Security is the most frequently cited flaw of the cloud. These folks argue that our data, being the most valuable asset we have in computing, shouldn’t be stored in a location that we’re not even aware of. In the eyes of these critics, issues such as control of data, legal compliance and other issues plague the entire concept of cloud computing.

While each take on the subject is logical, it eventually boils down to what kind of cloud computing is being discussed. The benefits are so strong from any angle that cloud computing can entice the masses. No longer needing to worry about managing an operating system and having instant access to software and services is a huge lure. While some of this sounds as though it is a vision of a distant future that is not yet close to being realized, the truth is that some services offering this functionality already exist. A presentation at ITEC Detroit showed off a cloud technology referred to as a “virtualized Web desktop.” Built on Ajax, the company hosting the demo claimed that all a user needed was a browser. Everything on the technical side was handled on remote servers. The approach allows users to have an individual account in order to access web and Windows applications.

Clearly, this approach manages to squash a number of the security issues normally brought up when cloud computing is discussed. With so little being done on the user’s end of cloud computing, security risks from access points are minimized to a degree where they’re not even worth consideration. At this point, the only security risks rest at the point of the remote server. As long as the proper security measures are taken and the data on the server is safe, there are virtually no threats with cloud computing.

For anyone interested in the cloud and hoping to maximize its benefits, there are a few things they can do. Education on cloud computing is the most important thing a person can do. I suggest a technical school as you can gain experience for a career at the same time. Another way to promote cloud security is to learn about the standards in cloud computing, as well as knowing where data is stored and what encryption is used for it. Finally, using best judgment is always critical, especially when it comes to cloud computing startups. Cloud compliance guarantees are necessary no matter how short-term a deal may be. The cloud may very well be the future, but for now it’s better to be safe than sorry.