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Cloud Computing - When it Rains it Pours!

Posted by Mitchell Ferguson on Saturday, August 18, 2012 Under: Mobile Computing

This year Belfast and Northern Ireland have received a massive rainfall (see Daily Mail online 18 Auguest 2012) and no it does not have anything to do with Cloud Computing, but there is connection.  With an ever-changing pattern in the weather, which now seems to occur yearly, comes a change in our patterns of computing

In fact, every two years produces a generational change in our computer usage.  While Microsoft and Apple business and design software have led much of the change, the typical software application for business has not moved as quickly as the ones online, specifically in phone and mobile related technologies.

You see each Christmas requires new gadgetry to sell in the marketplace.  Ask any teenager or younger what they want for Christmas this year and you hear the likes of phones, ipads and online music for their response.  How does this revolution connect to Cloud Computing?  

A dictionary definition of Cloud Computing provides a clue: Cloud Computing is 'The use of computer programmes that are on the Internet rather than on your own computer'.  The result of the technological change is that no programme in the future will be required to reside on the computer, but may be solely based on the internet.  Sounds like much of what we do on our phones, while working on the internet or using a mobile phone online application.

While working at my office doing research on Project Server, I noticed the change just recently.  Microsoft had quietly been moving in this direction with its introduction of 'Office 365', which it describes as such: "Office 365 adds more power to the Office you already know and use by making it easier to communicate and collaborate with others." 

The Office 365 model is just the second pure online model.  As a hotmail user, I first noted this cloud-computing model the previous year on my MSN hotmail homepage.  If you have an account (or if you don’t you can create one for free) you can click on the heading at the top of the hotmail homepage called 'Sky Drive'. 

The user is linked to a page allowing the creation of a MS Word, Excel, PowerPoint or OneNote document.  These documents are solely web based and do not require the user to have any of the programmes mentioned on their local computerThe user may create, edit or save on the Skydrive and if you wish to later on, you may download the document to your computer. 

Pretty nifty?  This means as a user I can be travelling in Hong Kong or Singapore and create my documents at their airport or a local hotel only to retrieve them later when arriving back to my office in Northern Ireland.

Like all technologies there is a downside and you guessed it, what does this mean for documentation security for large companies?  John Chambers, the Cisco Systems Chairman and CEO acknowledges that "computing cycles available, as a service on the Internet was also "a security nightmare."  CIO magazine online further acknowledges that 'big computing companies like Cisco and IBM are eager to talk about it, but security experts see a lot of work ahead'. 

Simply put many companies will be wary of giving up control of sensitive data for the ease of use of online computing.  Ronald Rivest an MIT computer science professor in the same article added that he was optimistic about the cloud computing future, but that it was going to take "a lot of hard work" to make it secure. (CIO, 22 April 2009)

While the debate continues on the security side, I have to acknowledge that the workplace is not limited to my office with the occassional trip abroad.  The technology will allow me to work from anywhere and at any time. 

As a father and husband I suppose this could be useful as well when my kids or misses want something done while I’m away.  No sleep then for now, I have work to do for the lads and I guess that’s okay as it is still raining here and keeping me awake. J


In : Mobile Computing 

Tags: cloud computing  software  online  it security  microsoft 365  access online data  aonghus it services  belfast  northern ireland  computer courses 




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