An IT perspective by Greg Breuer
The "cloud" is really just the mainframe revisited. Everything was on the mainframe. You ran a dumb terminal that was nothing but an output via the screen, and input via the attached keyboard. I did my assignments in a room full of green screens. This was 20 years ago. I compiled Fortran and submitted my work to the mainframe at night.
When I heard about the cloud it did not feel right from the beginning because I knew there are computer people out there we call hackers that are smart guys that write code which exploit software. They write code to take advantage of operating systems, software that people use and security systems keep data secure. That is what worries me. That is what makes me question the validity of the cloud. What I see is in ten years somebody being arrested because they for ten years have been stealing people's private data. Having my data being stored on a computer in Florida through the Internet causes me concern.
A PRO of the cloud is that people will share resources. You will not have to have an IT staff because your Data Center will be maintained by a vendor in a faraway place via the Internet. If the bottom dollar is the goal then moving to the cloud is is a smart choice. The biggest cost of any enterprise is hardware and software used to run a business. With someone else doing it, then you are going to save money, and the profit margin is what you are after.
I see the cloud again as a possible way for someone bad to get to my personal data. I don't have any data that is going to cause me any trouble, but the fact that my data is not private and personal causes me issues. This may turn out to be a Ford/Chevy thing or a Coke/Pepsi thing, but 20 years down the road I think a little bit different about my data. I want control of my data. The fact that some software may take my data without me knowing it, and putting it on the Internet bothers me. If I indeed have control of my data, then the issue is moot. There is no issue. There is a savings because someone else is buying the hard drive that I use to store my data.
Another thing I worry about is the fact that vendors who have software stored on the hardware they own may start charging exorbitant prices for the hardware for the storage that you could get yourself a whole lot cheaper. If the cloud could be private, then I probably would not have any problem; but the fact is vendors have been caught storing data that they have no right to have. It was done in the past, and they may do it again.
Perhaps I am paranoid. Perhaps this is a moot point. Maybe this will never happen, but it still causes me concern. When a vendor decides for me what is best, that is when I question the why.