Looks so serene from up here.
Really, it makes so much sense: Instead of that quaint old custom of storing your data locally, and backing it up remotely, why not just forget the local part altogether? What's so special about your precious hard drive anyway? All you need is a reliable, secure WiFi connection to the Internet with ultra-fast throughput. Who doesn't always have that? (Well, I don't, but I don't count.)
And doesn't it make so much more sense, instead of being able to run your own version of whatever program you need, installed on your own computer, to be able to access the latest version (provided it's still supported) from a centralized server somewhere in a big building in Akron, Ohio? All of your data, all of your computing in one, lightly guarded warehouse on one machine that will never, ever, ever, ever, ever, ever, ever, ever, ever, ever crash. And all of it owned by a company that will never, ever, ever, ever go out of business. Makes me feel cozy all over.
The other no-need-to-worry thing about the concept of Cloud-Only Computing is that someone else has access to your data. And they've promised that they won't let anybody else look at it. Like Linked-In or E-Harmony or Google. They promised, too. Just read their privacy policies (there's a link somewhere on their sites).So we can all rest assured that whatever sensitive files you've stored on that server in Akron, nobody else will ever be able to get at them...ever, ever, ever, ever.
As Usual, I Don't Know What I'm Talking AboutOf course, I've been told I don't know what I'm talking about--by people who do know what they're talking about. And they're right, I don't. I'm a digital Luddite. I'm just an ad writer. But as one of the billions of "targeted" users of The Cloud, my itchiness about it follows Unbreakable Rule of Marketing #2: Perception is Reality. My perception's not good. And my reality is; I can't trust The Cloud.
We've all also experienced the phenomenon of People-Who-Know-What-They're-Talking-About getting it completely wrong. Allow me to jog your memory. There was the BP oil spill in the Gulf in 2010 and the Three Stooges attempts to cap it. There was the sub-prime-contaminated credit-default-swap debacle of 2006-8, where economic experts assured us nothing could go wrong, and then the worst bank collapse since 1929 happened. There was the nuclear reactor meltdown at Fukushima in 2011, where the plant was built to withstand a 7.3 magnitude earthquake--and what are the odds of a 9.0 earthquake? (Really, let's get serious.) It's gotten so whenever I hear experts reassuring us that nothing bad could happen, I hang on to something.
So in spite of exhortations that The Cloud is where the future of computing is going, I'm hanging on to my old-fashioned, client-based computing and my steam-powered, external hard-drive backup, as well as storing data on a remote server. As any engineer will tell you, in building any system, the more redundancy the better. And if the Internet does go down--which could never, ever, ever, ever, ever, ever happen, of course--I'll still at least be able to get some work done. Even on a cloudless day.