In computing, file synchronization is defined as the process of keeping computer files in two or more locations as a way of creating backup against security threats. This method is commonly used as backup mechanism especially on external hard drives or USB flash drives. File synchronization uses a wide range of technologies to store, synchronize, as well as share data on different computer hardware. Basically, there are two technologies used in storing, synchronizing, and sharing data namely (1) the Synchronous Peer-to-Peer (S–P2P) and (2) the Synchronous Client-Server (S–CS) as discussed below.
- The Synchronous Peer-to-Peer (S–P2P)
Actually, the S–P2P technology was the first to be broadly adopted and used in computer file sharing, storing, and synchronization. It was first used across different peripheral devices such as PDAs, iTunes, and iPods to store and share data. The implementation of this technology tends to be very simple as it boosts the speed of local networks. The primary advantage of this method is that it allows storage and sharing of large quantities of data: the S–P2P directly synchronizes and transfer files from one device to another. This method actually involves on device sending or transferring its data to another device (Malhotra and Anjali 78).
- The Synchronous Client-Server (S–CS)
The Synchronous Client-Server is the second technology to be developed for the use of storing, synchronizing, and sharing files. This technology eventually grew in popularity due to the improvement of networks and the development of cloud services started becoming popular – this is probably the most common method of data synchronization and sharing across all networks. It works using a similar approach as developing a web service. The difference with S–P2P is that S–CS sues programming stacks, which are not related to the client applications.
Security for ensuring communication and connection
The two methods discussed above use different approaches to ensure the security personal data in communication and connection. First, the Synchronous Peer-to-Peer (S–P2P) technology is developed to communicate synchronously with the device via Bluetooth, USB, or Wi-Fi to allow connection and communication. When the two devicessynchronize, theydiscover each other thus allowing the application to zip up its entire store while sending the resulting file to the other device via a socket, which would in turn unzip and install it. This process is designed to enhance security while sending and transferring personal data across the two devices. When a user makes changes to the existing data such as giving it a rating, the application on the device would indicate the new changes and sends the entire data store to the original sender during the next sync. The original sender loads the store and looks for the modified instances then sends back a full copy of the updated store.
The process is a little different when it comes to the Synchronous Client-Server (S–CS) technology. In this technology, a server is added to the equation to offer more flexibility in terms of data communication and connection. In this case, when the client application synchronizes, it downloads data from the server using a serial format. This allows it to build a local store consisting of data from the server. When the client applications are changed, the last modified timestamp is updated and communicated to the server. To guarantee security and protection of the personal data, the server sends back all changes made on the timestamp to the client (Stefano 99).
Limitations and security vulnerability to malicious activities
There are some limitations of both Synchronous Client-Server (S–CS) and Synchronous Peer-to-Peer (S–P2P) technologies as well as some security vulnerability to malicious activities. These technologies are limited to the extent of identification of objects by row index in a database. Every store has a unique identity, which may not be suitable for identifying the corresponding object stored on a different device. Another limitation of these technologies is that there is potential of conflict existing when there are two or more stores representing the set of logical data. As a result, it is possible for a change of an object in one device to occur simultaneously in other devices (Du 102).
The two methods do not have fixed rules and policies of enforcing data security during storage and sharing. With the Synchronous Peer-to-Peer (S–P2P), the overall data security generally depends on the system or device being used. In essence, this technology is more vulnerable to security threat of malicious activities during the file transfer. In both approaches, the security of the personal data must be maintained at the sources of data capture and information access privileges. However, there are few threats of data security due to malicious activities when using the Synchronous Client-Server (S–CS) because the server controls access of information during the synchronization process (Cao 56).For anybody who or organization who uses a computer, human beings are the greatest known threats to their computer systems and information – this can be either through ignorant or malicious activities. For instances, human beings can perform some malicious activities such as disrupting the normal business operations thereby interfering with the process of data availability as well as production. Security threats to a computer also come from sharing and transferring of information inform of virus and worm attacks through internet or use of external storage devices.
Cao, Jian. Network and Parallel Computing: Ifip International Conference, Npc 2008, Shanghai, China, October 18-20, 2008: Proceedings. Berlin: Springer, 2008. Print.
Du, Wenjiang. Informatics and Management Science I. London: Springer London, 2013. Print.
Malhotra, Naveen, and Anjali Chaudhary. “Implementation of Database Synchronization Technique between Client and Server.” International Journal of Engineering Science and Innovative Technology (2014).
Stefano, Michael D. Distributed Data Management for Grid Computing. Hoboken: John Wiley & Sons, 2005. Print.