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Is Computing Really Better in the Cloud?

We take a hard look at both sides of the online storage solution

Rain Clouds

Cloud computing does have its dark side.  Gerry Purdy, principal analyst for Mobile Trax, says the major weakness in the cloud computing model is connectivity.  While the wireless carriers would like you to believe that you can get access to the Internet, and thus to the cloud, from almost anyplace, that’s not always the case.  A few examples:  airplanes without Wi-Fi, your home when your Wi-Fi connection goes down, or inside a moving car in an area with weak or no data signal.  If you’re in any of these places and you need access to the cloud for a document, or to show a picture, or listen to your cloud based music, you’re just out of luck.  To underscore his case, Purdy asks one question:  how many times have you tried to get onto the web and just couldn’t connect?

Purdy believes the best computing solution is a hybrid approach; keep the things like email, music, and documents that you need to access from your own home or office computer stored locally.  Use the cloud for the things that belong up there, like documents that you need to collaborate on. A good example of the hybrid model is Amazon’s Kindle.  Your books are on stored on your device, but the cloud automatically backs up your purchases, and updates them to every Kindle enabled device that you own.

Storm Clouds

One of the other issues with cloud computing is security.  Your documents are probably safer in the cloud than they are on your own computer.  But that’s not always the perception.  It seems that whenever there’s a problem with the cloud, it makes news, whether that’s account information stolen from Sony’s Playstation server, or problems with Amazon’s Music Service.  As Gerry Purdy puts it, “sometimes there are bad people using really good tools to do bad things.”  The fact is that most cloud services use strong encryption to protect your data, but it’s not always foolproof.


Next: The ultimate cloud computer in your lap. >>

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