Just a brief FYI -- you don't need to use the 'cloud' to be sure your files are safe. All you need is a USB stick or a handheld USB 'Passport' by Western Digital (or your favorite brand name).
I recently read in the Orange County Register about huge data compromises for major companies who entrusted the cloud -- the cost and lost reputation has been enormous for these major players. My only concern is their boards of directors might feel the cost savings outweigh the damage to the people whose data was stolen in the form of bank account info, social security numbers and other such stuff.
Because the world is so fragmented, trusting the cloud is like trusting a twister to deliver your mail.
Enjoy your articles, Doug!
What is commonly called/labeled 'Cloud' -- on-demand provisioning and pay-as-you-go -- was actually more accurately referred to as 'utility' in the past. "Utility Computing," to be more accurate, reflects the provisioning and billing aspects which are very similar to what most folks come to expect (maybe subconsciously) from the telephone, gas or electric company -- you walk/call-up to start the service account, then you are billed based on your usage. Those companies, in kind, are able to (mostly) scale to the usage needs of the customer/subscriber and/or build out additional capacities and capabilities.
The 'cloud' probably came out of the Internet marketers looking for something catchy... If you think about it, about the only thing the term 'cloud' aligns with in this context is the Internet delivery aspects -- which, itself, is debatable when you factor in the VPN aspects that some configurations require. The Internet, in this respect, is just a cheaper telecommunications/delivery option from the traditional private circuits -- like most other Internet-based services.
Doug, I'm in complete agreement with Don on his cloud opinion, including how the term cloud came about as an IT marketing catch phrase.
As an IT director, I will not push everything to the cloud as vendors would wish. I will, instead, make use of Internet-provided services that make sense to our organization.