Michael wonders why everyone is so enthused about the cloud

By | July 30, 2011
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Michael doesn’t see why everyone is so enthralled with the cloud
I don’t know why anyone gets enthralled with Cloud computing. Why should I let someone else be responsible for storing my most private information? Have you all heard about the spate of hacking lately? Sooner or later someone will hack into people’s private files and a lot of people will be hurt by release of that information. The cloud is no more reliable in storing any information than my hard drive. Not only that everyone assumes, we all know what that means, we all have reliable and continuous internet connection. Hardly the case at all. I live out in the boonies and my electricity is frequently interrupted along with my internet connections. If it is on my computer I will always have it so why rely anything else. I continue to be astounded how people ooh and aw over this cloud system. I don’t think people are thinking it through. What happens when the Cloudie goes out of business? Shall I keep going? There are just too many things to go wrong with cloud computing.

Our answer
Cloud computing is here to stay; what is going to disappear are computers with operating systems based on a local hard drive – and the world in which you download and install software is going to shrink. Internet connections will get faster and faster, and more reliable – and that will enable even more complex services and applications to be run from the Web.

The spate of hacking has nothing to do with the cloud at all, or at least the cloud as we’re relating to it. Hackers will try to hack where the benefits outweigh the risks – government databases, credit card companies, financial institutions, etc. It’s highly unlikely some bozo in Romania is going to waste hours of his time trying to hack some individual’s accounts – like yours or mine. What is the reward? Does he get TC’s photos of his cat and his email accounts? Big deal. They’re not going to hack an individual unless it’s some random, minor league hacker who randomly stumbles on someone’s Gmail account – and that poor soul’s password is 12345 – which, by the way, is the most popular weak password in use today. Over 5 million people were using 12345 as a password. What can we say? If those souls get hacked, it’s not anyone’s fault but their own.

The kind of cloud computing we’re talking about is email (cloud email has been around since Hotmail, Rocketmail, and Yahoo Mail were started), image editing, photo sharing & storage, reminders, weather, calendars, word processing, spread sheets, blogs, notes, and so forth. We’re not talking about storing your personal credit card numbers, social security number, and so forth in the cloud (although your credit card numbers and social security numbers have been stored in the cloud for a decade or more by now, not by you but by credit card companies and the government).

The cloud has been around for a long time – it used to be called “the Internet”. The cloud is simply a new name for something that’s been around for a while. But the cloud has come to mean web applications and interactive and social networking services that can be accessed from any device – not just a Windows desktop sitting in your den at home.

In the history of humanity, it’s always been the case that people will choose convenience over security – most of the time. The most insecure things about the cloud are the people using it, and the penchant so many people seem to have with using weak passwords. It’s amazing how many people don’t have a password manager. Those who don’t always tend to use passwords they can remember. And in that case they’re almost always weak passwords.

The cloud’s advantages far outweigh its disadvantages – and security, on the server-side at least, has increased substantially over the past few years. As the old saying goes: “You can lead a horse to water but you can’t make him drink.” We can tell people every week to use strong passwords, get a password manager, and be careful not to click links in spam email. But we can’t force people to use safe computing practices – people do what people do.

Considering Windows 8 will be based on Windows 8 mobile (the unsuccessful Windows phone operating system), it may well be the last version of Windows that even slightly resembles the Windows we’ve all been using for so long.

Whether you agree with the cloud, or you don’t, or whether you think it’s a good idea or not – the cloud is going to become more and more part of our computing lives, and computers where everything is stored and run locally will become less and less a part of our lives.

We’re not saying you have to like it, but unless you hang on to your old computer for the next ten years, you’re going to be dragged into the cloud – whether you go quietly into that good night or into it kicking and screaming – you’re going to doing more and more things in the cloud.

We’re not saying that we agree or disagree with the trend to move more and more things into the cloud, but that’s the way it is. It’s natural to want to cling to what we know and to think of anything which changes the status quo as undesirable — even dangerous.

One thought on “Michael wonders why everyone is so enthused about the cloud

  1. Carolyn

    I passed this along (with credit to you as usual, of course)because so many folks in my social group don’t understand this methodology at all. As a group of babyboomer seniors, we’re probably the most computer savvy compared to our own parents. Understanding cloud computing is just a fact of life now, like it or not.

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