What is the Cloud and can I trust it with my data?
By Dave Taylor
The Question:I keep reading about cloud-based this, cloud-based that, different services for backups, copies of my digital photos, and even document storage so I can work on my spreadsheets from anywhere in the world. Sounds great, but I don’t really understand what The Cloud actually *is* and whether it’s safe and secure?
It’s interesting to be an old timer in the Internet space, because I’ve watched the cycle go back and forth between local and network storage. Decades ago, I can remember using mainframes and dumb terminals, where everything was stored in a central system. Then PCs made it economic for files to be stored locally, freeing us up from the need to be connected. Then “headless PCs” almost caught on, where the local device had the smarts to run demanding applications but the programs themselves, and all your data, was still stored in a central location.
For the last few years, we’ve definitely been moving more towards having everything on our computers again, with 500GB and larger drives now common for even a lowly laptop. That’s a lot of data.
The problem is that it’s also a lot to lose. I know from experience when my daughter’s laptop crashed a month or so ago and she lost a month’s worth of photos, email, and school work. We had backups, but, really, who does that on a perfect schedule?
This post is excerpted with permission from Dave Taylor.
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