Customers and the Cloud: What Has It Done for Them Lately?
Too often, in my opinion, does the conversation on cloud computing circle around the gurus on the top and the fanboys that chase their coattails. Cloud is no different than any other technological revolution in that it provides a nurturing forum for otherwise outcast yet knowledgeable nerds to unite in esoteric discourse. But people, the nerds aren’t alone in purchasing cloud product. They don’t even comprise the majority of cloud consumption. That distinction falls to that lowly, knowledge-challenged, directionless and impressionable flock of sheep known as the general public. Sheep they may be, isn’t it high time we acknowledge their baas?
After all, these customers have been making use of the cloud unawares for years now. Or has the cloud been making use of their silent, unwitting participation? Gmail and Facebook made no active show of introducing themselves as “cloudy.” They elided that “techy,” too-smart-for-’em detail. Such cloud-enabled products, to be fair, boasted much to be attracted to; their being subtly forced upon the masses was a mutually desired occurrence. Now that more of the general public has awoken to the news of the cloud, do they refuse to push the cloud away? Heavens, no. Cloud computing’s simplicity and velocity come quite close to justifying the subterfuge of its introduction.
I have another bone to pick with the cloud gurus and fanboys. I’m writing to advocate for the customers whom they influence. The average consumer no longer writes off the term “cloud computing” as just some geek’s drug-induced daydream amid the cirrus. But as previously distracting diction loses impact, inflammatory fear tactics have replaced it. I’m talking about the too-popular narrative of “cloud as security risk.” The most noteworthy services and products in the cloud now tout state-of-the-art measures to protect data. And should such a service ever close on a consumer, she’s always had ample time to retrieve or relocate her data. I don’t mean to claim that cloud security is no longer a spicy subject. I simply believe that our community should encourage consumers to take it with a grain of salt.
Bottom line: why can’t the consumers and the cloud cognoscenti collaborate? We have all submitted to cloud’s authority. It’s challenged our perspective on data’s nature. Trying to abstain from it would mean living beneath a rock. But living in intellectual animosity between one another is an equally hard place.
By Jeff Norman