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The digital cloud is purported as being the solution for technology users worldwide. Offering users the ability to access data from any web enabled location and reducing the need for external storage drives, the digital cloud seems to be the end all be all of file storage. The question remains however: could the digital cloud crash?
What is the Digital Cloud?
The term “digital cloud” is used to refer to any service that allows for users to store files in an online location so that they can be accessed through any web enabled connection. The “cloud” serves as a massive storage facility and eliminates the need for users to cart around hard drives full of data on a regular basis.
What Makes the Digital Cloud So Appealing?
Aside from the fact that external storage prices are currently fairly expensive and many cloud services are offering free storage options, the cloud allows for global access of digital information.
Why the Digital Cloud Could be a Bad Thing
The Potential for Compromised Data
One of the biggest cons is the fact that when data is stored digitally it can be accessed by prying eyes. Certainly, clouds come with their own security measures, but there are always the possibility of incidences where those with nothing better to do can find their way in to your personal data collection. The potential for a security breach is not a concern for everyone, but for companies and people storing sensitive material, it is a real concern.
The Potential for Lost Data
Compromised data is inconvenient, but not as inconvenient as lost data. The potential for the cloud to crash is a major concern for users. Cloud users rely upon these virtual storage spaces to keep files, but if something were to happen to this storage space there is the potential to lose all data. The prime example of such an occurrence is the 2012 shut down of MegaUpload by the US government. There is no doubt that many users were storing illegally downloaded and uploaded digital data on the MegaUpload service, but there were also users who relied upon the same digital storage space for personal documents, photographs and files. For those who were utilizing MegaUpload for legal purposes, the immediate closing of the site led to a complete loss of their stored information. This leads to an important lesson, users should always have backup copies of everything to prevent complete data loss.
Doesn’t Requiring Data Backups Defeat the Purpose of the Cloud?
The recommendation to always have data backed up elsewhere is met by a look of confusion by those who are somewhat new to the cloud computing concept. Wasn’t cloud computing designed to eliminate the need for physical data backups? Well, yes and no. The cloud was primarily designed to give virtual access to information from any web enabled location. It also just happens to reduce the need for as much physical storage media as used to be required by IT professionals. The point is that the cloud is something of an addition to rather than a substitute of external storage options. As with any method of data storage, there is always the possibility for data to become lost, destroyed, corrupted or changed even when placed on the digital cloud and so backups are a necessity.
Is it Probable that the Digital Cloud will ever Crash?
It has already been established that just like any other method of data storage, the digital cloud can be compromised, but is there a possibility that the entire digital cloud will ever crash? The general consensus is that the entirety of the digital cloud will never be brought to its knees completely. That said, there is a likelihood for specific sectors of the cloud to be brought down.
Think of the digital cloud as being made up by millions of storage companies, each of these companies is allotted a certain set of storage units. The allotted storage units are located throughout the virtual globe. There is a potential that the company that you rent your storage unit from is going to be broken in to or experience a disaster (flood, fire etc.) that results in damage to or loss of your property being stored. This is exactly why renters have renters insurance, or a back up of their personal data. The potential that the same disastrous situation is going to happen to every company that owns storage units throughout the entirety of the digital cloud is slim. That is not to say that one significant worldwide event could not wipe out the cloud for good, but in the smaller scheme of things, the chance for complete eradication of the cloud is minute.
Will the Cloud ever be Reliable enough as an Exclusive Storage Means?
The cloud is a great addition to the IT world, but it should be looked at as an addition and not a replacement to data storage. The idea of trusting personal data to anyone exclusively is one that few people will ever be able to come to terms with and that is primarily why the cloud will never become an exclusive method of storage. This lack of trust is not particularly a negative thing in light of the closure of MegaUpload’s services, but for those who do rely upon digital storage solutions – don’t worry, there is no sign of a digital cloud apocalypse happening anytime soon.