As the Internet has become available from virtually everywhere via mobile devices, wi-fi access points, and home broadband users and organizations are looking for ways to get the information they need faster. Enter the client side web accelerators; software that can be installed on a PC or mobile device to speed up web page downloads. I recently came across an article  on the dangers of these web accelerators.

Unintentional exposure of personal data is never a good thing. Caching dynamic, user generated data requires knowledge of the application being accessed and all variables that define whether content is unique or personal. I have seen some applications where no unique identifiers are presented in the request which indicates personal data, all information is controlled by the database. In cases like this caching of the dynamic content is not possible as there is no way to differentiate one users content from another. Acceleration software that attempts to cache dynamic data with a blanket set of rules will unfortunately result in the wrong content being served. Each application is unique and will handle content generation in a different manner. Understanding how an application responds is key to understanding whether or not dynamic content is cacheable.

When setting up an acceleration policy for a customer I always say that a full regression test should be performed to ensure that the application continues to behave as expected. Sacrificing security or usability for speed is not advised. Take the time when deploying new technologies to make sure the gains being received in one area are not causing losses in another.