On Perception Of The Cloud

Citrix commissioned an interesting survey to see how people define “the cloud”.

Most of the press was focused on:

51 percent of respondents, including a majority of Millennials, believe stormy weather can interfere with cloud computing.

Technically weather can cause your internet connection to go down, so yes it does interfere with your access to cloud computing. If you can’t access it, for all intents and purposes it doesn’t exist. I’d further argue any remotely decent data center is not impacted by “stormy weather”, it would need to be along the lines of “act of god”. A notable difference.

They also focused on:

You’re not alone: While many admit they don’t understand the cloud, 56 percent of respondents say they think other people refer to cloud computing in conversation when they really don’t know what they are talking about.

Again, I’d argue no big deal. You shouldn’t need to know what a utility is anymore than you need to know the molecular makeup of natural gas. You just need to know how to safely operate a stove. Cloud computing is turning computing into a utility. It removes the complexities (how to gather wood to keep with the fire/stove example).

The part that gets me is what was ignored by seemingly everyone else (emphasis mine):

Softer advantages, like working from home in the buff: People offered additional, unexpected benefits of the cloud, including the ability to access work information from home in their “birthday suit” (40 percent); tanning on the beach and accessing computer files at the same time (33 percent); keeping embarrassing videos off of their personal hard drive (25 percent); and sharing information with people they’d rather not interact with in person (35 percent).

We’ve failed miserably as technology professionals if 25% of the population think putting their embarrassing photos in the cloud is a good way to keep them private. This is akin to if 25% of the population said they trusted random Nigerian email’s for their banking needs.

If I were Apple, or Microsoft, or anyone else in the market, I’d be asking myself how to fix this misconception and make security on the desktop visibly superior as well as technologically. Perhaps make disk encryption standard for at least the user data which could be partitioned (especially since adjusting partitions isn’t impossible these days). A lot of privacy is lost in the cloud. It’s also potentially not subject to many of the protective laws the US provides to physical property in terms of search as I’ve mentioned before.