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Doug's Mailbag: Are Woz's Cloud Criticisms Correct?

Readers share whether they feel the same way as Steve Wozniak about the cloud:

I have to agree with Woz and I'm glad someone with a little more knowledge and clout has said it out loud.  Maybe I'm a closet conspiracy theorist or maybe I'm just leaning toward paranoid but all of the end-user agreements we have to sign to get space in the cloud (the ones we rarely read) have a ton of clauses. And there aren't a whole lot of real protections for the consumer, our data and certainly not our privacy.  As it stands currently, I will still use the cloud for personal and non-sensitive data, and I will still consider a private cloud for my company.  But I sure don't trust the public cloud with our company's secure data!

I agree with Steve. When you go to the cloud you are putting a lot of trust in the provider. If something bad happens, you may get a few free hours of service. However, you will not recoup the money your business lost. Another aspect is that assuming everything goes extremely well and you have legal protections, once you have all your data in the cloud, the provider can now change pricing or other aspects within the terms of the contract -- and you have little choice but to go along. Moving your data someplace else may be extremely hard.

I agree that the cloud is dangerous. You put all your information in a virtualized server, then another company renting space on that server gets investigated by the FBI and the server is seized -- along with our data. You don't own your data, the provider does. Kiss it good-bye. Besides, all the money you save, you have to spend on bandwidth. What's the point?

I agree with Woz, not only from a legal standpoint, but from a user experience standpoint. Using SharePoint 2010 in an Intranet environment has been fraught with problems created when changes are made to network infrastructure, security, firewalls, etc. The users are in for a ride when everything is in the cloud and connectivity is via third-party ISPs. It will be like the bad old days of telephony, with everyone sitting around pointing fingers at each other while the user no longer sees his SharePoint shortcuts...

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Posted by Doug Barney on 08/08/2012 at 1:19 PM

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Reader Comments:

Wed, Aug 8, 2012

If you only have one place for your precious documents, you should really reconsider this policy. If something is that precious, then you should have it backed up in MORE than one place...

Wed, Aug 8, 2012 Larry

The cloud is like wireless, convenient. Like wireless it shared and even though walls can be put up, there are always ways to get around the wall. Nothing is private or secure. Facebook and Google actively seach and index everything, and add a little facial recognition while we're at it. Then factor in a little govenment population cataloging too just in case we are deemed a terrorist. Encryption, how many people use truly strong passwords? Music, if I buy it, I own it. The only way I know to ensure that is buy the disc. If I need anything more than convenience, I pass on the cloud. The concepts of privacy and ownership don't exist in that model, and eveyone is building a "file" on the people who use them.

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