Updated 8/18/2014: Adobe had a cloud outage which left users unable to use their program for 27 hours. I also updated some other information. Microsoft Azure also had a major outage.
I know I do not update this blog very often. The purpose of this blog is to catalog my repair notes to help me and my customers. I tell my customers all the time that I do not like the cloud. But it seems like the cloud is a new buzzword that companies are jumping to make money on. Especially annoying is Microsoft’s tight integration of their cloud service called OneDrive (because they lost a legal battle over the name SkyDrive in the UK).
It may surprise people that the cloud is just a fancy way of saying something that has existed since the internet began. All the cloud is data on another server.
Below are my reasons for wanting to stay away from the cloud.
- Failures can and will happen. True, the same can be said of your own computer. But if you wisely have a backup, you are in control. If your cloud storage fails, you have no choice but to wait.
- The purpose of cloud storage is to make money. These companies want all your files on their server and then they want you to go over the free limit. Then they can hold your files hostage and make you pay a monthly fee.
- To use the cloud requires you to regularly upload and download your files. What happens when your internet goes out? What about the delay in transferring data to a remote server? Businesses shouldn’t have to have internet working to do business.
- Can you really trust a for-profit company with your private data? Do you really read the phone book of a contract they make you agree to to use their service?
- Can you really trust that your data will not read or examined by a government. Did you read how easily technology companies gave in to the warrantless searches?
- Some companies are preaching Software-as-a-Service (SaaS). This is when you pay a monthly fee and never have to upgrade the program again, but you must be connected to the internet to use the program. In other words, the program is partially in the cloud and you pay a monthly fee to use it. It is slightly different than a subscription program, like Office 365 or an antivirus, because if there is an outage or failure the program continues to work. With SaaS, if the cloud goes down, then you cannot use your program. Adobe’s Creative Cloud had a 27-hour outage that left people unable to use the program. Can you really trust time-critical projects on a computer you have no control over?
It is for these reasons that I disable the cloud features on Office 2013 and Windows 8.1 with my customers. Sadly, Microsoft redesigned the save and open feature in Office 2013 so that it is difficult and annoying unless you use their cloud service. Unless Office 2013 is installed, I tell my customers why I don’t like the cloud and then I uninstall all cloud services. While the cloud has some uses, the good parts are very limited.
There are only two good uses of the cloud. The first is to distribute common files over multiple locations to minimize the natural delays found on the internet or to distribute the internet traffic load across multiple servers to help maintain service quality. When the cloud is referred to, quite often this part of the cloud concept is not mentioned. The second is cloud backup services which are now, thanks to competition, reasonably priced. Uploading a copy of a file to a cloud drive is a great way to share a file you want to share. But it must be a copy and the only one. And provided you do not care if a government reads that file.