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Old 12-14-2011, 08:30 PM   #1
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Cloud Computing

I hear in a few years PC's won't have hard drives and it'll all be cloud computing. If I understand that it means everything you keep on your hard drive today will be stored somewhere. That worries me. Where and more importantly how safe is it re theft of data, privacy, data corrupted by virus/worm/malware/whatever? The way technology advances I suspect this is coming soon and then you would not be able to buy a PC with a hard drive as it'll all be based upon cloud computing and you'll be forced to use it.

Are my fears unfounded? Do I understand what cloud computing is? Anyone else think this is a potential problem?
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Old 12-14-2011, 08:43 PM   #2
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Several years ago, Scott McNealy, then CEO of Sun Microsystems, was quoted as saying "You have zero privacy anway. Get over it!".

I do not know what context this quote was taken from. However, at that time, Scott McNealy and Larry Ellison were pushing the disk-less workstations which would get all their code and data stored on servers. They even had some prototypes, as I recalled. That effort failed commercially, but is now coming back with a different name and a different form.
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Old 12-14-2011, 09:12 PM   #3
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Are my fears unfounded? Do I understand what cloud computing is? Anyone else think this is a potential problem?
I don't like it, and I will refrain from backing up my files to the cloud as long as that is an option. It seems as though privacy is becoming an obsolete notion, with respect to this and many other aspects of life today.
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Old 12-14-2011, 09:33 PM   #4
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Pros: cloud computing's centralized data storage means you can access your data from any device. Cons: you are not the only one who can do so.

I can see myself storing certain business content in the cloud. Personal stuff? No thanks. I suspect there will remain enough demand to keep hard drives or other local storage available for at least the next 50 years.
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Old 12-14-2011, 09:39 PM   #5
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Here in Canada there are regularions preventing employees of many provincial governments or their agencies from uploading work related material to the cloud. (What they do on their personal time is their own business). The reason is that currently, most cloud servers are in the US. The Patriot Act basically gives US Homeland Security snooping rights over any such material. So until there are more Canadian clouds, we are not allowed to use Dropbox, for example.
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Old 12-14-2011, 11:31 PM   #6
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My calendar on my mac/iphone/ipad is in the cloud. And I have some photos and work stuff in the cloud also. Nothing that I would mind if someone could access it. I don't know if data/software is more or less susceptible to theft/corruption on a hard drive connected to the internet, or in the cloud. I feel that there is more security on my own computer that I have some control over. Who knows what kind of security there is in the cloud.
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Old 12-15-2011, 12:47 AM   #7
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The cloud will convert the internet into a big Comcast/cable type profit center. One can imagine the packages now.
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Old 12-15-2011, 02:15 AM   #8
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My calendar on my mac/iphone/ipad is in the cloud. And I have some photos and work stuff in the cloud also. Nothing that I would mind if someone could access it. I don't know if data/software is more or less susceptible to theft/corruption on a hard drive connected to the internet, or in the cloud. I feel that there is more security on my own computer that I have some control over. Who knows what kind of security there is in the cloud.
(not intended for ronstar directly, just a general comment) If you really "can't get over" the privacy thing. then you should be encrypting data you don't want people to get at even if it's just on your local hard drive. something like this is reasonably easy to use.

ThinkGeek :: Ironkey Military Strength Flash Drives

If you think that's too much of a hassle to do then you have in fact "gotten over it". Right now your local PC is less of a target for intrusion than a big cloud site, but there's no technological reason why that is. That could change with very little notice.
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Old 12-15-2011, 06:35 AM   #9
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Are my fears unfounded? Do I understand what cloud computing is? Anyone else think this is a potential problem?
Cloud computing is about data but also applications and network management. You don't need to buy SW applications for your computer, instead you pay a use fee, and you don't need to manage HW and SW interfaces and manage networks. It is the evolution of outsourcing and especially attractive to small businesses that cannot afford the cost of doing this but need to for operations or competitive reasons, or organizations that need computing but do not have large capital budgets. Big companies may still feel they can be more competitive doing these things themselves. This business model is very attractive to SW providers.

For individuals the benefit could be in things that people want to share across many devices in the home but are subject to rights and often tied to specific devices. Music and videos are good examples. Privacy issues are a concern, but the greater issue will be bandwidth. Now it is inexpensive, but as our use migrates from data to entertainment the networks are overloading and service providers will soon need to charge much higher rates for streaming services, which will discourage their use.
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Old 12-15-2011, 07:06 AM   #10
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IMO, it's just another over hyped exotic concept in tech world, kind like the highly claimed "derivative trading" before it sank a lot of investors' money. Cloud computing is a great idea on paper, but in reality, there are still way too many technical, human, political, social and economical hurdles and uncertainties ahead. Maybe it will help to beget another technology boom in next 2 decades, just like Y2K, before it goes to bust again. Who knows? It might be a golden opportunity for anyone already or plan to be FIREd. Or it might even coincide with the 32 bit computer timestamp roll over in 2038 for a lot of software we can not function properly without in now days.
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Old 12-15-2011, 07:28 AM   #11
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I have copies of all of my photos and documents I don't want to lose in the Cloud already. If you have something you really, really can't risk others seeing you should learn how to encrypt it - it isn't very hard. But, if you are truly worried you have other risks (malware keyloggers, IQCarrier, etc) and maybe shouldn't even have the stuff on a computer. After all, you have to decrypt a file to read it and it is exposed at that point.
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Old 12-15-2011, 07:52 AM   #12
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I've avoided using the cloud for personal stuff for the same reason that I prefer to do my taxes with a local version of Turbotax on my computer instead of via the web.

The only cloud computing I do now is my antivirus software (Panda) as I got sick of using AVG with all it's update requirements.
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Old 12-15-2011, 08:54 AM   #13
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I don't like it, and I will refrain from backing up my files to the cloud as long as that is an option. It seems as though privacy is becoming an obsolete notion, with respect to this and many other aspects of life today.
+1Million

The cloud is the latest computing fad - like everything else it has some validity for some situations, but not for all. I for one will do my best to retain control over that information/data I deem to be personal and private, cloud be damned.....we can't eliminate the physical world altogether as we are physical entities with mass. (hmm, I wonder if those last few words are redundant)
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Old 12-15-2011, 09:03 AM   #14
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I wonder how many people have had their information compromised through physical means (some one steals or physically accesses their computer, hard drive or other memory device), or had it accessed over the internet (malware), versus being accessed from a 'cloud' somewhere?

Is it really a bigger risk? I dunno.

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Old 12-15-2011, 09:13 AM   #15
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I wonder how many people have had their information compromised through physical means (some one steals or physically accesses their computer, hard drive or other memory device), or had it accessed over the internet (malware), versus being accessed from a 'cloud' somewhere?

Is it really a bigger risk? I dunno.

-ERD50
+1 I suspect it is more likely that personal data will be exposed because of malware than the fact that you store your data on a cloud server. Lets face it, we don't keep our portfolios in gold bars hidden in the basement. Our portfolios are nothing more than "data" stored on someone else's hardware. And, for me at least, that is far and away my most critical data.
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Old 12-15-2011, 09:26 AM   #16
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I wonder how many people have had their information compromised through physical means (some one steals or physically accesses their computer, hard drive or other memory device), or had it accessed over the internet (malware), versus being accessed from a 'cloud' somewhere?

Is it really a bigger risk? I dunno.

-ERD50
From what I've read, family and friends still represent a far greater threat to individuals.
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Old 12-15-2011, 09:29 AM   #17
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Cloud computing is about data but also applications and network management. You don't need to buy SW applications for your computer, instead you pay a use fee, and you don't need to manage HW and SW interfaces and manage networks. It is the evolution of outsourcing and especially attractive to small businesses that cannot afford the cost of doing this but need to for operations or competitive reasons, or organizations that need computing but do not have large capital budgets. Big companies may still feel they can be more competitive doing these things themselves. This business model is very attractive to SW providers.

For individuals the benefit could be in things that people want to share across many devices in the home but are subject to rights and often tied to specific devices. Music and videos are good examples. Privacy issues are a concern, but the greater issue will be bandwidth. Now it is inexpensive, but as our use migrates from data to entertainment the networks are overloading and service providers will soon need to charge much higher rates for streaming services, which will discourage their use.
+1. The "cloud" does present privacy concerns as far as I can tell, I'm resisting too so far (other than gmail). Though providers go to great lengths to protect user privacy, there are unfortunately breaches from time to time. Unfortunately bad guys are just as talented and determined with coding as the good guys (an big unfortunate waste of human capital). Caution is prudent. I can't imagine a day where I'd put my personal investment spreadsheets on the cloud, though I am just as concerned that someone could one day hack into my VG accounts...
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Old 12-15-2011, 09:42 AM   #18
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"Cloud" is a clever new term for something that's been around for a while. It sounds so hip and "Steve Jobs."

I have 3 gigs of stuff on gmail. I'm not pleased about that, but it sure works better than a local email system.
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Old 12-15-2011, 09:43 AM   #19
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When Hacker Sutton was asked, "Why do you rob clouds?" he replied, "'Cause that's where the data is."
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Old 12-15-2011, 09:48 AM   #20
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I started using cloud computing quite a bit this year because it allows me to effortlessly keep my data up-to-date across all my devices. In other words, it is very convenient.

So much of my information is already stored online by third parties (financial information, shopping habits, google searches, tax returns, emails,...) that I probably haven't had real privacy for the past 10 years anyways.

I am careful not to put some information on my computer or on the cloud, like my medical history. But there again, my doctor has all my information on his computer and who knows what he does with it or who has access to it.
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