Cloudy Skies and a chance of rain…

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For people working in IT a longer time, the concept of ‘the cloud’ is anything but new. In a certain way it is exactly the same as having your data stored on the mainframe computers while people used the programs that ran over the network using the data that also was available on the server. The only thing that is new about the cloud is that it is now marketable, a popular service, and the network is getting fast enough to actually handle the amount of data being sent around.

And last week, the cloud got a lot more busy, while more and more people where upgrading their iPads, iPods and iPhones to iOS5 including the iCloud. I am still on the brink if I actually will like the service or not, simply because I don’t feel comfortable having all my data – how managable it might be – stored somewhere I don’t know, by people I don’t know, with security I do not know.
The good thing is that you can customize what is stored and backed-up, but still.

12 years ago Apple was going down the drain, fast. It can happen again inthe future, just like with any other company. What happens with your data if it does? A business partner asked me what would happen with certain services if a hosting of web company goes down the drain, and it is a very valid question… Because, chances are, everything is lost.
But even worse, what if the server cluster that hosts, for example iCloud, Azure or Amazon’s cloud services, is not shut off in such event, but bought by another party? How secure is your data then? Gladly Apple allows your backups to be encrypted, but a lot of people will not decide to do that.

Did I make use of the iCloud services, being the critic that I am? Sure. Although I originally set it up not to, I have decided to turn it on though, because it is easy to have that access though. And I am not so anti-cloud as it might appear. I use Carbonite for a data back-up and am very happy about the service. My email runs in Exchange, which is basically a more private cloud service too.

But, then we arrive at the SaaS. Nice. Software as a service is a good concept. The problem is, what happens if your daily business activities involve the usage of such services. I do not even mean your website that goes down, but real business-critical activities… Crm or payroll… What if you lose access to that?

Although much critisized, I like the Microsoft 365 solution that works hybrid in and out of the cloud. Sure, if the service goes down you don’t get your latest information, but at least it is up to date as possible. And, you still have all the tools available to keep on working while the service is down, or move everything altogether to another service provider.

In the ’90s the ‘next best thing’ that never happened was the net-computer. A computer that actually could only communicate with a network connection. The concept was popular back then, but it never took off. Right now the concept is tried again through Chrome OS.
In my opinion, stability of network connections are not yet there where they need to be to go to an all-in-the-cloud solution, but we are half way there. Once security is top-notch, network connections surpass 4G, and servers can handle a lot more data than that they can right now, then, we might be ready to use full cloud services.

But, on the other hand, we do need pioneers that show that it all has to move into hat direction. So I will absolutely not advice against using the full cloud services like Google Docs, Online CRM systems etc. As long as you don’t mind me chosing for some hybrid solutions while we are still in a hybrid state of the it world.

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