27 Sep 2015 Getting Off the Grid and Onto your Own Cloud
It’s not an unknown fact that security issues are becoming more and more of an issue these days. We live in a world that is completely connected to everything. Our computers, tablets, and phones are connected to services like Google, Facebook, Dropbox, and more! Most people believe that there is no harm in using these free services – but free does not come without a cost…
Google is a business and therefore sells your information that it collects through emails, document uploads, and anything else it feels is important. This is then used to display custom advertisements through Google Mail and Google Searches. Sure you can get an Adblock software to remove these things pesque ads but does that leave you safe? Not exactly!
Google has also been known to give away your information to government officials without much of a blink of an eye. When you are working in areas in which your sensitive data is, well, sensitive it is important to remember that fact. Furthermore, services like Dropbox also sell data and within their own policies make you agree that any information you upload can be given away to third-parties. This does not necessarily mean government officials but it does mean that if they find something that might make a dollar or few !!find article they will do so.
Furthermore, some people feel less comfortable about sharing family photos of their children on Facebook or other social media for fear that these images might end up on billboards at a later date. As well, as of recent several RSS Feed readers were purchased by major advertising companies and then started to collect people’s personal information and display ads after individuals clicked on article links.
So what exactly can I do about that?
Depending on your budget there are some pretty fairly easy and cost-effective solutions! If you don’t have that kind of budget you can always resort to cheaper browser related solutions to at least block some of the advertisements and tracking.
There are plenty of open-source solutions out in the market these days that can help build the same services that exist within Google, Dropbox, and beyond that can be integrated into one personal server.
- Cloud bookmarks (so you never lose your bookmarks)
- Personal / Shared calendars online (and through personal software using CalDav)
- Personal Contacts (synchronized through computer / mobile software using CarDav)
- Personal / Shared Files (exactly like Dropbox with software to connect to smartphones and computers)
- Personal / Shared Tasks (linking to your online calendars)
- RSS Feed Readers (software that allows you to read news articles that you want to track through the privacy of your own server)
- Secure email
- Personal websites
With all of these tools you essential create your own customized cloud that provides exactly all of the same services available to you through these other online tools. The difference being that you have control over who is able to see and use that information.
Ok sure but now you are worried about the cost?
In fact, the cost of servers today has drastically dropped, such as Linodes personal dedicated server, which costs up to a maximum of $100 per year. They simply charge you only for what you use each month, which is an outstanding dedicated server model and helps you reach your goals.
As well, now that the Let’s Encrypt project is relatively close to becoming public you no longer have to pay the $150-$250/year cost for a proper SSL Encryption certificate. They plan to provide that as a service for free IF you can install your software on your server.
Let’s make this happen!
We take great pride in building such servers for our clients to help liberate them from the dependencies of online services that may / may not respect their own privacy. If you are interested in setting up such a service you contact us to receive a quote and we can setup such a service.
Author: Shane Bill
Shane Bill has been working in the web consulting industry for well over 20 years. He is passionate about the empowerment of community organizations, individuals, and businesses in being able to reach their goals through online tools. Shane’s experience has led him to help build greater cloud infrastructure, system support, revamped websites, and much more. He is passionate about keeping up-to-date on the latest technology changes, and helping others advance their projects through this knowledge! Shane contributes frequently to various online FAQ sections and Drupal modules to help others reach their goals and resolve issues.