Reliance On Cloud Computing

Over the past couple of weeks I have had a couple of issues with some of the applications that I use and it has made me think about how reliant we really are on cloud computing. If you're not too sure what cloud computing is, here's the Wiki definition:

[Cloud Computing]is a style of computing in which IT-related capabilities are provided “as a service”, allowing users to access technology-enabled services from the Internet ("in the cloud") without knowledge of, expertise with, or control over the technology infrastructure that supports them.

And to put it into perspective

Google Apps provides common business applications online that are accessed from a web browser, while the software and data are stored on the servers.

I suppose that we are all using to a greater or lesser extent cloud computing apps like Skype, Google, Facebook, Google Docs, Twitter, Salesforce ad much more.

In a typical day I may do the following:

  • Sign In to Google Mail on my Blackberry to check who has emailed me.
  • Telephone my wife's family in Spain and speak to her brother using Skype.
  • Send some documents out to clients and invite them to make modifications through Google Docs.
  • Go to Typepad and write an article just like this
  • Head over to Google AdWords and Analytics and see how some of the campaigns are running.
  • Log in to Twitterberry and tweet about the first thing that comes in to my head.
  • Upload a video to YouTube and embed it into my TypePad post.
  • Check the news through RSS updates either through Firefox Live Bookmarks or through Viigo on my Blackberry

Aside from using Excel, Word, Outlook and PowerPoint the bulk of my working time is spent using Cloud Applications.

Which brings me back to the first point I raised - our dependence on these applications. Typepad has been playing up a little recently - it's spell checker is not working correctly and there have been some issues with its new WYSIWYG editor. If TypePad was to go down, I would be unable to update clients about new stories and courses and my clients would be unable to find out about my services or courses. I have heard, though haven't experienced, that the web app of choice: Twitter had some outages last week which meant people weren't able to post.

It's interesting to see what happens when someone who is reliant on technology can't connect to the Internet. You may have noticed that I haven't blogged for well over a week - the main reason is that I have been in West Wales with my family. Though I took my laptop and Blackberry to do a little work, the place we were staying didn't have any Internet access and boy did I struggle. My Acer Aspire computer may have had Vista and Microsoft Office 2007 with Small Business but the only thing I managed to do was knock into shape a presentation I am giving next week.

I suppose a big concern, and one which I don't have a contingency plan for, is what would happen if any of these companies went bust or someone managed to compromise their servers? The words creek and paddle come straight to mind! We are going through some difficult times at the moment and no company seems to be immune to global financial issues. And it is so difficult to find a solution when your work revolves around providing clients with cloud computing solutions.

Related Pages
Cloud Computing: The Future Web - a video from the Web 2.0 Summit '08

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