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Like this article? We recommend Why Not “The Cloud”?

Why Not “The Cloud”?

Why not “The Cloud”? For many reasons:

  • Privacy. If you aren't hosting via cloud, you don't have to give a cloud service provider access to what might be confidential business files.
  • Security. With proper setup, you can create a server that only provides service to the other users on your LAN and completely invisible to the rest of the Net behind your LAN's firewall. Perhaps more to the point, would you make a directory on your home workstation accessible to the Internet via a cloud provider? A personal webserver makes it possible to provide controlled access to those on the Net you think should have it and only to those people, run it when you want it, and shut it down when you won't.
  • “Terms of Service.” What if your cloud provider doesn't like your content? People hosting photo content on, for example, Flickr frequently find their images inaccessible even to them because that service decided they didn't like their content and pulled the plug. If you uploaded directly from your camera or handled the files by transferring to a laptop and then to a photo hosting site, those photos might be the only copies. Not so good if one is a professional photographer and those images are one's stock in trade. Remember “hooter cancer” on Yahoo Groups? Users on the breast cancer forums had to work around Yahoo censorship of the word “breast” in order to continue their discussions.
  • Reliability. If the cloud provider is down, so are you. And all you can do about it is complain to customer service (if it didn't go down with the rest of the provider's services) and hope for a fix. While the advantages of making service provision someone else's problem are obvious, that doesn’t help you if they aren't providing service.
  • Business risk. If the cloud provider goes out of business or decides the specific set of services it provides you are not worth maintaining and shuts down without notice or warning, it's your problem. While I'm not all that concerned about Google or any of the major cloud service providers going down, even a relatively small risk of their deciding not to provide a service you might need or it would be inconvenient to replace is more than I'm comfortable with. Also, you might need to use an unknown small provider to get services that fill too small a niche for major providers. I've had several “free” service providers for my personal website that provided scripting, guestbook, etc. services and disappeared without warning.
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