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Can you live in the Cloud?

What is the shape of that cloud that has been brewing up for quite a few years and can you put all your computing needs in it?

The cloud we talk about for computing means really nothing more than doing your work and play through some service or website that does not use anything other than your web browser on your computer, phone, tablet, Xbox, or whatever you use to connect to the Internet and Web. For some, cloud computing means nothing more than email and calendaring with Gmail, AOL or Yahoo, keeping up social contacts with Facebook, video calls with Skype or Google Phone, store and play music in iCloud or via Spotify, and word process and manage spreadsheets in Google Docs or Office Web Apps using SkyDrive. For personal use this would likely suffice, but as most all of these services are free, the support for them is rather limited to email or web chat sessions. Woe to you if any of your accounts are hijacked where regaining control might take at least a few days. Still, for many people, it is possible and even practical to keep all of your stuff in the cloud, and just use any computer, smart phone, tablet or any Internet connected device to work and play with your data.

In the business arena, things change. Yes, Google can handle your business email, but I think the biggest problem with cloud computing lies with small businesses, especially service and medical ones, and their proprietary databases and/or federal regulations like HIPAA. Many proprietary databases are just now being converted to web-based systems, usually with a subscription model that that makes it hard to feel you own your data. For image editing and working with large video or audio files, no one has created a working system that runs in the Cloud, there is too much data that would have to move. And, finally, what if your Internet connection is out for a part of the day, something that does happen in this region. You might as well go home at that point.

So, bottom line, tat cloud is probably ready and fine for personal use, and still up in the air as to whether it can meet all needs in all businesses.