To Cloud Or Not To Cloud

First off, let me just say I actually kind of hate the phrase "in the cloud". Same goes for cloud-hosting and all the derivatives. What happened to online, in teh tubes, or the classic "ether"?

At any rate, that's not the point here. The point is the age old question, do you rely on the cloud? We all know the plusses and minuses so let's just cut to the chase: is not having to worry about hardware or maintaining a server really worth not having control over your own data?

Granted, I'm not the kind of person that normally askes this question. When most people ask whether to cloud or not to cloud they're thinking about documents (and whether to keep them online vs. on their own physical media) or perhaps a website (where the actual choice they're facing is cloud hosting vs. a remote server with virtual access). I'm in a different camp altogether: when my server has an issue I get in the car, go to the data center, and get hands on and arm deep into fixing it. And while that sounds like a lot of work (it can be!) it's also pretty darn gratifying. When it comes to work I like the fact that I have total control over my server; it annoys me to no end that I don't have control over the firewall as well.

So from that point of view, what are the perks of choosing the cloud? In the case of this blog, is the ease of setup worth the trade-off of control? I'm starting to think it's not. What are your thoughts?

6 comments:

ccheath said...

This blog is in the cloud, no?

Tina (aka Tina) said...

Yes, this blog is in the cloud. And because of that another company had the control to mark it as spam for almost a full day, confusing writers and readers alike.

Amy said...

As a person who works in nonprofit, I see one big issue for us as well as for smaller organizations/businesses: contracting out what we now can do ourselves. It will likely cost less than an in-house IT person, probably a lot less, but if something goes wrong and no one even knows which questions to ask, that'll be trouble. We also have an enormous amount of confidential information that would no longer be under our control - not financial data, but personal data from the thousands of people who call us each year and abut whom we need to retain records for follow-up and for funders. Given the number of nonprofits and small businesses, in the US economy, it seems like there will definitely be a niche for IT people who understand the type of issues we face.

ccheath said...

well a blog that you host on your own would possibly get marked as spam by the blacklisting companies just as trivially - sometimes just because certain keywords (like 'deviant' or 'uncensored') are in the title/url -- and those situations are even harder to seek recourse for than what happened to this blog the other day. (and google is right to have that automatic safeguard in place... this blog is an outlier for this type of flaggin in that it is legitimate and not spam (but i can see how the algorithms would think that it meets the fingerprint of a spam blog)

Tina (aka Tina) said...

Amy, it's funny you mention that because the company I work for actually provides services for just such a non-profit: we designed and host the case management software for what is essentially legal aide in my state. There are SO many things that have to be taken into consideration, from data security to redundancy to access to the many many MANY multitudes of reports that have to be run for funding purposes. This kind of situation is even a bigger catch 22 because going with a cloud based solution puts so much of the data into 3rd party hands, not to mention running the risk of an IT support staff that doesn't realize the special needs of a non-profit. But like you said, the only other option is finding an IT staffer or firm that understands those needs and knows the right questions to ask to tease out what exactly is needed from the system...

Amy said...

Tina, this could be your business!

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