“Banking” on clouds

I do not have personal experience using cloud technology in a school environment and while overseas teaching in Japan had little knowledge of the existence of such online software. Looking back it could have been beneficial then but I think as many others have pointed out, privacy issues would likely have been a barrier to taking advantage of the potentials. The school I was working at had very strict regulations and policies surrounding internet usage and uploading files to the internet and although I never tried (and it may be different now as these technologies become more prominent and known) I think the school would have not allowed students to use these services and I would have faced heavy resistance from the higher-ups. I would be interested to know how many schools have changed (or HAD to change) their policies to reflect an openness to cloud technologies and their use by students.

In my studies I use googledocs for coordinating research efforts with partners and classmates. It allows us to share interview notes, add relfections and share resources without excessive emailing and downloading and saving hundreds of “newest” versions. Also as others have pointed out the auto-save feature of googledocs has “saved” me on numerous occasions.

I see these cloud software and services like banks. We send our money to an institution, it gets sent all over the place but we expect our deposited balance to be there when we need to access it from various locations through various means; debit at a restaurant, cash from an ATM, withdrawl from a branch institution). We have began to treat data much of the same way. Depositing it into “banks” where it is stored and we can retrieve/use it again later. Some of us have more than one “bank” in which we store data or different types of data at different “banks”. Just as it was difficult for the bank to convince the first few people that they should give them their money and they would hold it, keep it safe and the people could retrieve it when needed, so it is with cloud technologies convincing businesses and skeptics of security and privacy of using online data storage. But I think eventually many businesses/schools/people will go this route because of ease and accessibilty. Just as almost all of us have a convenience card for easy access to our money, increased wireless access makes mobile devices the new debit card to our cloud “accounts” for all our cloud “banking” needs.

So why haven’t I made a full switch to cloud storage. I’ve kept my files under my mattress (actually USB or on my laptop) for so long that the thought of organizing them all and moving them is daunting. Also like others suggested a consistent INEXPENSIVE internet connection is hard to come-by so I still would not likely be acccessing files in places like on the bus.

One last thought on security; After watching the video of security at Google’s Data center facility it almost seems easier to rob a bank (although not suggesting either of these) 😉

Posted in: Uncategorized, Week 08: Files in the Cloud