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do you trust "the cloud" ?

Bert Bates

Joined: Oct 14, 2002
Posts: 8898
Just finished reading the Wired article about Ray Ozzie and m$ - they're making their strong move to dominate "cloud computing".

I don't care if it's Google or m$ or anyone else, I fundamentally don't trust cloud computing. It seems very "big brother" to me, and the benefits (to the user on the street), seem tiny... what am I missing?

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Ernest Friedman-Hill
author and iconoclast

Joined: Jul 08, 2003
Posts: 24199

I personally bemoan the day the phrase "digital convergence" was coined. I can remember a time when computing was computing, and entertainment was entertainment. Now that computers can play music and movies, the powers that be want to lock them down, or take them away from us altogether. I realize there are many dimensions to "cloud computing," but one of them is the old "thin client" thing in yet another guise -- "you don't really need to own a whole computer, do you?" That aspect really annoys me.

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Nitesh Kant

Joined: Feb 25, 2007
Posts: 1638

Cloud computing sure is the "buzzword" now and a lot of people in the market seems to believe that cloud will bring about a huge change in the way everyone perceives IT (a mammoth process that goes on for a long time)
However, the word "trust" is the key here. As far as the enterprises go, I feel it will take a long time for them to "trust" the cloud.
OTOH, for small players where security/privacy is not such a big concern, probably see a lot of cost benefits in moving to the cloud. The smaller time to market and IT maintenance overhead are the things that probably outplay minor security/privacy concerns in some sectors. This benefit is probably getting highlighted in the current financial crisis where people will get lured to things that can save money and fits into their idea of privacy/security.

I think cloud still needs to go a long way and the "trust" factor will come sometime down the line when established players gets into the cloud and the other follow them.
It promises alot but lets see how much it delivers

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Joe Ess

Joined: Oct 29, 2001
Posts: 9189

Originally posted by Bert Bates:
I fundamentally don't trust cloud computing.

I agree, but for a different reason. It's not Big Brother to me. If I'm handing all my important documents, family pictures, personal details and such, I want a safe deposit box, not some here today, gone tomorrow service.
There's no shortage of examples of services breaking for days or being turned off and never seen again to keep me trusting only my home computer.

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Andrew Monkhouse
author and jackaroo
Marshal Commander

Joined: Mar 28, 2003
Posts: 11776

Hmmm, I'm not sure that trust is as big an issue as people seem to believe.

I've been using Amazon's S3 service for quite a long time now to make offline backups of my data. S3 treats stored data as objects - it doesnt care what is stored within those objects. So I can (and do) encrypt data on my side and then store the encrypted data on S3. I have an offline storage system that I can access instantly from anywhere in the world, and yet it is encrypted, so nobody but me gets to see the contents. Perfect.

The company I work for had a scaling issue over Christmas, and it was considered desirable that we put some of our data that is publicly available out on an external storage system. As long as the data was read-only, our security concerns were met, and the pricing of S3 made it a better solution than any of the major competitors.

I can see a situation where you might need to do some large crunching of data, and need it processed really fast. So a virtual set of processing systems makes good sense - you only need to pay for the time you are actually processing the data. You could use HTTPS to send and receive data between your base and the cloud, so it is only security on the cloud itself that might be an issue. And is this any less secure than having a hosted system run by some data center?

Joe's comments about the potential for outages / complete loss of service are certainly items to be considered, however for my money I don't see these as being riskier on the cloud than if I were having some boxes hosted at site 'x' for me.

Regards, Andrew

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