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Look at Cloud Computing from Both Sides Now
By: Bruce Coker
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    2009-01-14

    Table of Contents:
  • Look at Cloud Computing from Both Sides Now
  • Appeal of the Clouds
  • Precautions
  • More Safeguards

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    Look at Cloud Computing from Both Sides Now


    (Page 1 of 4 )

    Everyone seems to be climbing on board the cloud computing bandwagon. Despite its benefits, using the cloud has its risks. It may not be very safe for your data, for example. In this article, we'll examine cloud computing from both sides -- the advantages and the risks -- and see what we can do to maximize the former while minimizing the latter.

    By keeping your data in the cloud you might risk losing everything

    A recent mishap that befell Loren Baker of Search Engine Journal served as a reminder of the risks associated with entrusting your digital life to the so-called cloud. Baker, an enthusiastic advocate of new technology and of online data services in particular, made the mistake of relying exclusively on Google’s online Gmail and Google Docs services for all of his many business communications and collaborations. So when Google decided for some reason to disable his accounts, his businesses fell – in his own words – into a “black hole.” Not only did he fear the permanent loss of his data and contact information, but customers attempting to contact him received automated messages from Gmail warning them of “permanent failure: account disabled.” It was literally as though he and his businesses had disappeared from the face of the Earth.

    There’s nothing unique or special about Baker. He’s just like millions of people who ask Google and other online services to manage and maintain their most vital information on a daily basis. These are people who entrust everything from business documents to personal photos, music collections, huge archives of emails and uncountable numbers of words on blog sites, to a range of vendors who often charge nothing for their services and whose top priority is emphatically not the safety and security of any one individual’s private data.

    Why work in the cloud?

    Cloud computing is defined by Wikipedia as an approach to computing that allows users “to access technology-enabled services from the Internet without knowledge of, expertise with, or control over the technology infrastructure that supports them.” By this definition it includes a whole range of components such as data storage, applications, infrastructure and platforms that can be delivered entirely over the Internet, and in which users place something that approaches blind faith.

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