So you’ve been hearing a lot, a LOT, about cloud storage of lately. Even with the latest news about Apple’s iCloud system, just about every major name brand has their hand and foot into this arena. By now you should already know all the benefits of cloud storage right? No, let me give you a quick run down:
- Free storage space
- Easily accessible from most popular browsers
- Access via mobile devices
- Easy to share files and access
Now before I give you my reason for why the idea sucks, let me tell you about the one service I use. Dropbox. It’s a great service that offers free accounts that start with 2 gigs of online storage. You can install their free application on mobile devices and your PC or Mac computers. When you add or change a file that’s within your Dropbox folder, it automatically syncs the change across all your devices (so long as they’re powered on and online). Sure there are others out their but between my colleagues and I, we all use this the most if not exclusively.
So why do they suck? Well for one, not many have been around for a really long period of time. Also space is quite limited for the free ones. I remember years ago Yahoo used to have a “Briefcase” feature that offered free space up to a certain amount of megs. It wasn’t much, maybe like 10-50mb in space if I remember right. I stored resumes in there, pictures, and other files. Well a company as big as Yahoo, who would have thought they’ve ever get rid of that. Well they did. That void was quickly solved by thumb drives and portable media. So what if:
- Your files could be lost if you forget to pay for your online storage
- Security breaches could leave your secured files vulnerable
- Must have an internet connection to access your files
- Could take more time to sync large files than its worth
- Your files may be subject to the Patriot Act
- Storage company could fold without warning
- Servers could go down temporarily or for a long period of time
- No recycle bin for deleted files
- Encryption may be limited
- Lack of available technical support
Again, storing some of your data in the “cloud” is a great benefit. I think eventually it will be a much bigger market as more major brands incorporate storage in their devices and software. Cloud computing is getting bigger by the day and there doesn’t seem to be a ceiling for it as of yet. For me, its like having an old school floppy disk. You can work on your 15 page biology report on it for days at the library and as soon as you take it home to your own computer, the disk is unreadable. And just like that you lost all of your time and effort by relying on one medium for file storage. Use cloud computing and accompany it with your own physical storage device. It may be a bit of a task but you’ll thank me later if/when that online website gives you a 404 error or server not found message.
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Amazon S3 is fairly cheap at .07/GIG. I would definitely look into it. Get Transmit from Panic Software and you’ve got a sweet cloud set up. I’ve used Salesforce and tons of cloud apps that make life som much easier. It does indeed have it’s downside. DropBox has no version control and shared folders are subject to all manner of corruption by members who drag and drop or delete things. Have to constantly backup but Time Machine actually saves these files since they’re both Local and in the Cloud. Gov’t snooping concerns me but the legislators need to solve that issue to restore privacy. Looks like the Patriot Act is here to stay for a while. Generally if you’re a thug or terrorists I think you’ll be using Flash Drives and CDs to disseminate info.
Good title since it got me to read it. Looks like you like Cloud Storage too with a few caveats.
Hey Rich, thanks for commenting. Honestly I haven’t tried Amazon’s system yet. Though I hear it’s free up to 5gigs. That’s nice in comparison to Dropbox. Though for quick file sharing across machines Db works good for me now. I just don’t feel comfortable with paying for storage. I rather pay a more advanced tech guy to setup a home server with VPN access. Have you heard of Pogoplug?
As for the privacy and encryption issues, I think that goes without saying. We’re not gaining any new rights, but seeming to lose or get limitations on existing ones. (whole other topic, lol). I’m finally going to try Time Machine this weekend after clearing out some old data. I hear great stories about it.
Even if cloud is cheap it still not best. Look at being hacked. You lose files at when ever times. No explanations or to accuse us of doing something that caused it, but it was who you are using cloud with. The security is terrible. Internet based, and the whole world is not all covered with internet, and half or more is still on dial up or none. No matter how hard they push the “I will make an OS in cloud”, like Microsoft Windows 10 rumor. That is the dumbest move they are going to make. I am not going to fall into that category if they do it. I will stick with Windows 9, and hope they realize they step in the wrong dog pile of poop, when they do things like that.
In the case of Dropbox the author doesn’t know what he is talking about. Dropbox syncs all files in its folder between your computer and the cloud. Even if the cloud goes away an up to date copy as per it last being up is own each computer set up for dropbox.
Thanks for your comment Seren. I actually did write about how Dropbox sync options. Its actually one of the backup options I use to this day. However some use it when they’re not on their “sync’d” machines to access their files from Dropbox’s cloud servers through their browser. Same rules apply here; if those types of users rely on those servers being always available or always up – then they’re not for several hours at a time do to any reason, that user will be at a loss.
So what if:
•Your files could be lost if you forget to pay for your online storage?
– If you do not backup your data when your receive your 30 day, 60 day and 90 day warnings (3 warnings) before they would lock your account. You obviously don’t care that much about your files.
•Security breaches could leave your secured files vulnerable
– Your personal computer is just as secure as an online server, if not less secure (unless you are not connected to the internet, turn of wifi and turn off bluetooth).
•Must have an internet connection to access your files
– Who these days is NOT connected to the internet??? Even monks in the mountains of Tibet have internet!
•Could take more time to sync large files than its worth
– Movies/Videos are the “large files” that exists, and why would you want to have your movies on a cloud, you are only going to watch them on your computer!
Any mp3, picture or document is not going to take up any more time then it would moving it manually to a USB drive, and copying it over to another computer/device.
•Your files may be subject to the Patriot Act
– hahaha wtf is wrong with you, throw in a bit of scare-tactic terrorism, really?
•Storage company could fold without warning
– No, they would always give a warning, unless you go with “bob’s private garage server”. Any decent company like Apple, Yahoo, etc would ALWAYS give a warning if they were going to remove their service., if not imagine the multiple lawsuits on data loss, etc. Example: Apple has been letting people know since 2010 that they were getting rid of MobileMe, and give people over a year to back their files up.
•Servers could go down temporarily or for a long period of time
– Very unlikely, do you know how many multiple servers there are, and how many times your data is actually backed up and copied to all the backup servers?
•No recycle bin for deleted files
– Have a backup of your files, OR don’t delete it!
•Encryption may be limited
– …really? I’m not even going to go into that one.
•Lack of available technical support
– When using iCloud from Apple who is known world wide about their top 1 customer phone support service?
You sound like an old grouchy guy, that has NO IDEA what you are talking about.
Get with the program, its 2011, update your knowledge and information.
OR I guess you can keep walking around with a pocket full of USB drives, and copy paste everything over manually to each separate computer, one by one, slow, like a retard.
Hey Jim, thanks for your comment. I can tell you that I’ve personally worked with a hand-ful of clients where some of these situations became issues for them. You have valid answers too all of my points and I appreciate you taking the time to note and reply. Hopefully it sheds a different light and perspective for other readers.
“Any decent company like Apple or Yahoo…”
“Who these days is NOT connected to the internet??? Even monks in the mountains of Tibet have internet!”
“Your personal computer is just as secure as an online server, if not less secure (unless you are not connected to the internet, turn of wifi and turn off bluetooth).”
Unlike you, JP, I’m not going to let this idiot think he knows anything about security. When the phrase “decent company like Apple or Yahoo” exits your stream of conciousness, chances are that the light’s on, but nobody’s home.
Hi Jim, thanks for commenting. There’s no doubt most of the modern world is connected to the internet, however I do believe there are different steps taken for security on a mainframe server level that most users aren’t even close to. There’s firewall, spyware blockers, antivirus and phishing software. At the end of the day digital data is always susceptible volatility in one form or another.
A lot of people are not connected. If you travel and in the no where land. You would know this. I don’t even have to travel to know this. I know people in the canyons that can’t get broadband. Who would use cloud on dial up? You would have to be just out of an asylum to think that dial up is good for cloud. Take you half the day to just upload 100 mb file. Geez, quit defending companies that are stupid with coming out with cloud. Overpriced, wasteful, non interesting, holding you back cloud storage. Buying a computer without a hard drive and without optical drive is stupid. So what if you can buy external. It is still not portable if you have to drag around 3 to 5 times more than a laptop to use somewhere else. Does anyone do research on what they really need when purchasing a laptop or do they just listen to the salesperson, and purchase immediately, and worry about not having everything on it when you get home, and end up paying more?
Hi Eric thank you for commenting! It is interesting the consumer interest in drive-less laptops like the Chromebook by people who don’t understand what not having a HD actually means, and how to actually secure or have a backup contingency for loss of that device or first data.
Nice article–title caught my attention as well.
I dropped DB, because of their new policy of “owning” by copyright everything you store there–and can access and amend anything. I write stories and refuse to upload anything now to save, even if encrypted. I have an external hard drive and use that (or flash drives). With the exception of power outages caused by weather or accident, that is my sole source protection.
And it doesn’t take a “retard” to use a device (“Tornado” being one) that connects between two computers, and in milliseconds, distributes files from one to the other.
Contrary to someone commenting here earlier, any court of competent jurisdiction (via Patriot Act or other) can access any files included in on-line storage–just read the terms and conditions (which no one reads) of most cloud companies.
Having a local “backup of your files” defeats the purpose of online storage. Why, then, bother using the cloud or even paying for it?
And Apple is not “#1” in customer service. They rank behind AT&T, which is near the bottom–simply because of the multitude of choices in answers to extremely simple questions; poor website; even poorer forums; and voicemail while continually passing the buck.
The reasons to use online storage are: reduced local storage; make one’s computer have quicker access to information–either locally or via cloud; avoidance of power outages and still be able to access information, albeit from a different computer (although the second computer may be experiencing the same power outage); have others access or share the same info over long distances (although I use Skype, TeamViewer, or similar, to transfer files in real time);
Cloud storage has some benefit, but it is not a panacea, especially if security or copyright is a concern.
Hello Doc, thanks for commenting! Wow a lot of great points there. Especially about the terms and agreements that most people don’t read. I try and copy and save them as a Word document myself just in case. But still about the ability for the gov’t to sift, search, and read “your” online data whenever they want doesn’t sit well with me. But then again that’s a different topic in its own. I have to agree about Apple’s customer service ranking.
Old but still relevant subject. I personally view cloud storage/computing as one of those nice to have but I am of the opinion that sooner or later people that have put all their eggs in the cloud basket are going to be bitten… hard. I’ve been through several weather events that shut down vast areas and the only people that were still operational with their business were those that had there stuff locally. All the cloud lemmings were in some cases out of business for a month or more.
Cloud has its place but if you stand to lose a lot of revenue if you can’t access your data you better rethink any notion of moving your stuff to the cloud. I personally like the idea of being able to service customers while everyone else is floundering as a result of not thinking things through.
Thanks for your reply J Rehm! I also think the same that if you stand to lose a lot of your data can’t be accessed because it’s online, then you certainly are not planning with contingencies. Our agency is based in Orlando, FL so we know all about power outages and storms that can knock out power.
Cloud storage sucks in so many ways it is hard to document. First, what any individual wants is featureless storage – no syncing, no sharing, no nothing – it just shows up on your file explorer as a file just like it was actually on your computer. Unfortunately no one wants to offer the product people actually want, instead they want to link you to their silly products – MS, Google, Apple, etc. etc. etc. None of them are reliable, all will lose your files, many will find ways to keep you out of your own files. None work like a simple file explorer that happens to have the storage out on a server on the web. Yes, if I am at a big company and need to edit docs with 30 other people, or share files across an enterprise, some of this stuff might be marginally usefull. But if I am working on my PC, and I may have several PCs, tablets, and phones, I want a stable system with my files that acts just like they are still on my device – and I want a single login for security from any device in my possession. Why is this so hard??
Thanks for your comment Richard!
For us, we’ve setup a 12Tb NAS about 2 years ago and use that as our “cloud” storage mainly and provide access to designated shares for our clients. It helps us manage access and files way easier and with more functionality (including mobile app access) than the business offerings with DropBox. We’re flirting with Google Drive, but not really looking at it in the same use case.