I'm dropping in an episode here of Father Ted who is trying very unsuccessfully to explain to his associate the difference as to why cows look the same whether as a Toy in hand, or out there looking exactly the same in size because they are "far away".
Whats the analogy here you ask ? Well its the "far away" aspect.
A data cloud is just the same. When its close at hand, its right there and accessible and controllable. But when its "far away" what happens when something goes wrong. Clouds are being sold as the way to go. After all there is substantial money to be made from selling Clouds. They do sound like a great idea. They mean that you don't have to set up your own Servers and network. Someone else manages them, owns the hardware, provides redundancy backup, plus a power supply for when the power grid goes down. Which all reduces capital costs and employing staff to manage it. All your business has to do is access the internet to use it. Sounds wonderful doesn't it ?
This web-site is on a cloud for example.
But what happens when the internet goes down and there is "NO" internet ? Short term or long term ?
Look at Twitter in the last few days. Crashed majorly. Look at Facebook which crashed a few months back.
Also take a look at what happened to some major corporate retail outlets just in the last few weeks that use the Cloud for retail sales. The internet crashed. This was only for some 20 mins. BUT all their store sales relied on being constantly connected to the internet. Hence not be able to sell anything, the stores had to close for the period of the outage.
Ask yourself what would have happened had this outage had been caused my a major earthquake ? A lot of these Servers are located in Los Angeles and San Francisco. Earthquake territory. My personal Server is in San Fran from New Zealand. What if this outage continued for days, even weeks. What if the backup power supply eventually folded (like no ability to provide fuel to the generators) ?
Many businesses are so FAR AWAY from their cloud server that should something go wrong it might just cause their business to fold. Phone calls now go down the internet, no longer are they on separate copper lines. All communication would go. There wouldn't even be reporting of the situation, so you would be left in the dark as to what happened
What happens if a EMF wave arising from the Sun hits the USA ? This happened back in the 1800's and affected Morse telegraph lines, this being in the days of no electrical systems as we know them now. An EMF is more likely to affect the Northern Hemisphere than the Southern.
What happens if there is a magnetic pole shift with the Magnetic North Pole moving metre's a day at the moment ?
It seems to me that we are not very well protected from this situation. When you put all your eggs in one basket, you are just asking for trouble. A Cow in hand is better than one that is "far away".
The bigger question here is whether the cloud is just a disaster of our own making waiting to happen ?