I planned on naming this post In Cloud We Trust but then realized that Sarah Perez over at ReadWriteWeb beat me to it with a post with the same title. It is a good post that discussed a lot of the views surrounding trust and cloud-based services. This post is a continuation from my last one discussing cloud services.
I began thinking about the number of ways in which I think about the levels of trust we place in the cloud. Here is the short list there are probably more:
- Trust the Value – Obviously you need to make the conscious decision to start using a service. Early adopters typically begin the movement. And there needs to be value in having it in the cloud. This is clearly why many of the cloud based services we try out are ones in the productivity arena where taking the data with you is less convenient or you need multiple access points (i.e. multiple computers).
- Trust your Patience and Fortitude – There are so many services being offered today, the Web 2.0 phenomena. So any early adopter needs to trust their patience as these new services develop and evolve. You also need to trust your fortitude and comfort in collecting user-ids and passwords like they are going out of style. Perhaps there is a cloud-based start-up just to keep track of all of the cloud-based services you try out? I know I’ve lost track, reminder emails are very often my best method of remembering I signed up for something.
- Trust the Service’s Longevity – Wouldn’t it be great to know that the service you signed up for will be there for you in 12-24 months. This goes to security of your information. This goes to your time and effort in learning a new services capability, its nuances and how to integrate it into your work-flow, particularly for your productivity tools. (See jumping from Google Notebook to Evernote). This also extends to simply the longevity of your own account at these services. I discussed this in my last post and Matt Mullenweg blogged about this yesterday regarding Google account take over.
- Trust in Privacy – To use many of these services, particularly those that have social integration, you need to have a pretty good comfort level with your information being out there. Many services, such as Vimeo and Plaxo, allow you to govern who can see what about you and your content but many are open in their nature. And if you are placing your data someone besides the confines of your own home, you need to have a good sense on how much you trust the vendor to keep your data private. Everyone has to make their own decision but my sense is this type of trust has to happen, it is simply the way the technology world is evolving. Not to mention, but my view is you have the same privacy concerns even with desktop software that uses the internet to “talk back” to the mother ship. The cat has been out of this bag for years, it is just becoming even more pervasive.
- Trust in Data Security – I believe, over the long term, this is the most important one. Everything else will shake out over time but once you have the services you’ve selected, learned how to use them effectively and gotten over privacy concerns, will your data be there all the time and when you most need it. If you lost all of your mail, your contacts, your calendar, your photos, bookmarks, what kind of impact would it have on you. If you are like me, I would imagine a big one.
There are probably many other elements of trust that I haven’t touched on. In fact, another one, trust in others, with the power of social media comes to the social contract with your connections that you trust them with the information that you are sharing with them. This may be its own post that I will follow-up on at a later date.
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- In Cloud We Trust? (readwriteweb.com)
- Cloud Computing and the Enterprise (ericbrown.com)
- Microsoft’s Cloud, Part 1: Defining The Cloud (on10.net)
- Tim O’Reilly discusses web 2.0 and cloud computing (nitinbadjatia.com)
- Cloud computing could be dangerous warns Richard Stallman (crunchgear.com)