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The Cloud

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‘The Cloud’ is one of the best sales pitches of the decade. What is it?

This description was on a T shirt - “the Cloud is someone else’s computer”. A pretty good description.

It is a computer somewhere in the world which is being updated and serviced by a third party. It could literally be anywhere. You are simply buying storage space.

A simple bit of maths shows that the furthest it can be away from anyone is 12,000 miles and since the speed of light is about 250,000 miles a second then the delay in communication to it is a maximum of 0.05 seconds. So it could be up the road or on the other side of the world and you wouldn’t know.

There are advantages and disadvantages of using the Cloud. Be very careful when using third party web based systems and be aware of their strengths and limitations.

While they may be convenient for access by end users there is the caveat that they are open to inspection and attack from anywhere on the world.

Consider that if you store your customers data in 'The Cloud' then you are responsible for its security and not the service supplier. Under the new GDPR regulations you are solely responsible if it goes wrong. You must therefore go the the Nth degree to ensure total security. 99.9% simply will not do. Your supplier is likely to disclaim all responsibility in the event of an issue and their total liability may be to refund your payments.

If you decide to stop using the system then is there a facility for you to download all the data? Is it in a form that you can make use of? Is the data inaccessible the moment you stop making payments. Effectively, is all your data 'lost'? What are the implications if this occurs?

Keep in mind that the biggest disadvantage is that if you cannot connect to the internet or the site is down then you have no information at all. Cloud based systems have great potential if used correctly and with due care. Cloud based systems are being heavily promoted at the moment.

Where is the data actually located? It could be on a server anywhere in the world and may come under the jurisdiction of another country. It may also be lodged in a country that has particular laws over content and it may be different to your own. As an example, America considers its jurisdiction to be worldwide so if you do anything wrong that constitutes an offence under their laws then you can be extradited and prosecuted.
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