Posted by & filed under Cloud Computing, Digital Policy, Privacy, Software.

Description: Called file hosting services, these online systems allow documents, images and files to be stored on distant servers rather than on a PC.

Source: NYTimes.com

Date: Jan 28, 2011

In the old days of computing, you could carry only as many files as you had floppy disks. Then came hard drives and thumb drives, allowing those so inclined to carry entire digital encyclopedias in their pockets. Finally, thanks to new services that store data in the cloud, yet another stage of storage evolution (maybe the final one) has been reached: the celestial hard drive, a storage medium that exists solely in the electronic ether.
Called file hosting services, these online systems allow documents, images and files to be stored on distant servers rather than on a PC. Most of these services store a local copy on your own PC or Mac, and many offer a special folder on your computer that will mirror your selected files on multiple computers. Other services are Internet-only and allow you to upload and share files with multiple users in a few minutes without resorting to dropping CDs in the mail. Read rest of story

Questions for discussion:

  • How helpful are these cloud storage services for work or for home?
  • What are some applications for business computing that you think would add value to a firm’s technology infrastructure?
  • Are there any risks in using these services?

18 Responses to “For Your Files, Lots of Room In the Cloud”

  1. brittni.maurer

    I think that the cloud storage service helps a lot with working from the office to going home and continuing on the same project. It gives people the ability to go and get there information from storage that is kept in the “clouds” with out using a usb key, disk, email, or another other type for device that would typically be used to transfer data from the office to home. It gives a person freedom to always know that the work is going to be there with out having to rely on one of the older devices.
    Some applications that would add value to the business would be as stated in the article having the ability to access the cloud storage from a mobile phone, this makes it convenient and easy for anyone to share files at any time where ever they are as long as they have internet connection.
    The risks that might be involved with using the storage in the clouds could be hackers going on there and getting all the information that is stored in your files. This would be a major concern for me if I was using it for business use and having confidence information in the storage.

  2. Russ Sommerfeldt

    I personally love the idea of cloud storage. This service is very helpful for work and home because no matter what computer you are at as long as you have the internet you will have access to those files you upload to dropbox. I found this program especially helful this last week. I had a presentation for one of my classes where our group created a power point presentation. In our power point we had a video embedded which increased the file size by a little bit. When i went to email the file to the rest of my group it said the file was too large and i was unable to share the presentation with my group. I needed to get it to the rest of my group some how so they could add their slides and edit it. I was unable to email it because of its size. So i thought i would try to upload it to dropbox and then share it with them that way. It worked perfectly and we were able to accomplish the things we needed to in order to share the files we needed to for a successful presentation. I love this way to store and also share files and information.

  3. Landon

    I think cloud storage is an interesting innovation and takes the portability of information to a new level. No more forgetting flash drives or other storage devices, all you need is an internet connection. This allows you to easily upload files and access, say work files, at home and vice versa. I think cloud computing is quite useful, it allows you to upload files and access them from any computer, share with people, and you have a safe backup of your information, and for those of you who have lost any information, is reassuring.

    I think one area that this cloud computing would add value to a firm is in the ability to share files among employees, it is almost like an intranet. You could have individual departments with their own storage so the entire department will be able to share information with one another. Even more so, each department could access other departments information allowing for faster communication, the info is there when others need it.

    Security is always a risk when it comes to information. Who has access to it? Is it safe? People will be leery of storing info in the “cloud” since you are putting your trust in someone or some company that you don’t even know, storing it on their mainframe. How can you trust that person? Are there standards that must be followed? or can these people access my info as they please without my knowledge. Either way I guess, you have to trust people (some anyways) or else you wouldn’t leave your house. I think this cloud computing is a neat innovation in storing information as a cheap, convenient, easy and rather safe means.

  4. Clayton Varjassy

    Cloud storage for work/school and home is a great idea. Rather than having to copy files back and forth from a USB or external drive, you can have a dedicated folder for files that you’re working on and not have to worry about losing a drive, or forgetting it. It’s a quick and easy way to make sure your important data is backed up off-site. There are however a few risks involved with relying on cloud storage. The biggest risk for me would be security. If you’re accessing your files over the internet there is an added potential for unauthorized people gaining access to your sensitive data. Another risk would be if you’re relying on cloud storage as your only means of backup, if the service ever disappears, or if there is ever a problem with the uploading of a file to the “cloud” you could potentially lose your data.

    As for its use with business computing, I think it’s a great idea. You could have offices at various locations, and rather than having to e-mail files or download them from ftp’s, you could just have a synchronized folder containing important files that every location has access to.

  5. Simar Duggal

    In my opinion this is a great idea. Cloud helps for consumers is the ability to work at home for the office or from home for school, this can be very helpful to the fact that people can go home early and not stay late at work. The ability t of cloud is to share folders and see that the same file is exactly the same on a person’s desktop. The best way Cloud can help business is if they encourage the employees to use the software, this way they can go home early and business don’t have to worry about work being left undone at the end of the day. Also business can open different locations and have the ability to share files online. The biggest risk would be the use of business information at home, taking home private business information can be hazardous for business.

  6. Dustin

    I believe that these cloud storage systems are great. How often do we try to send a email with an attached power point or movie clip or something along those lines and cannot because the file is too big to be sent? It’s very frustrating. Not only do you have access anywhere, you can use any computer that has access to the web anywhere.
    Anything really. I don’t think it really matters what you are doing. Its going to help everywhere. For example, a group that has a project could work on it simultaneously. It would not matter if the group member was in China and another in Florida, one in Hawaii. It’s always there.
    I think if you use these storage systems, you should indeed be careful with what information you put on them. Even though we think it might be safe it’s probably not. So i wouldn’t go around putting all of my personal information on these storage sites. Be smart about what information you intend to put on the site. People could access them and spread what ever information is there with who ever they want. This could lead to invasion of privacy or confidential things becoming not so confidential!

  7. Katie

    Files in the cloud is a great idea and shows how the innovation and movement of business in the world is evolving. I have sent emails where I have needed to chop up and separate into different parts in order to send information to family, friends, and coworkers. I once had to send 8 separate emails because the file was too large to send at once. It took me over an hour before I finally was able to get everything sent. These cloud storage systems allow for easy access and sharing of information. The possibilities are endless when you think about being able to access that information from anywhere in the world or the comfort of your own home. But like anything with information and the internet, you need to be careful with what it is you are storing in the space clouds. I would never want to store any personal data and people need to be smart with what they are sharing with the rest of the world.

  8. Momah Moseri

    Technology grows everyday and it’s amazing to see how far we have come. From the days of floppy disk to hard drives and now you can store your documents anywhere without having to carry it about and still be able to share it with friends and families. Clouds storage services are going to be very helpful because you can use it to back up files just incase your PC crashes, you can also share files with family and friends without having to carry the storage device everywhere. Some applications that would be of added value to a business is the fact that it can be accessed anywhere and anytime from your PC or mobile phones. The risks with the cloud storage will be that the storage provide could go out of business or suffer a massive breakdown and hackers could also be able to get a hold of your information and use to ruin one’s life.

  9. Jenn Oloya

    These cloud storage services would be very useful for work and home. When working in groups it would be easier to share information with each other using a service like this and it could help with organization, communication and overall performance. This type of services could also help with the way businesses are run. Most business are leaning towards flextime and allowing their employees to work from home. With the cloud it would be easier for the employees to be able to get information or give information to each other no matter where they are. There are always risk for using sites like this, as the article states one of the risk is the service that your with failing and going out of business which would cause you to loose your stuff. Another risk is that of hackers going into your service and pulling your information when you are sharing it or getting it from the site.

  10. Todd McCune

    The cloud services like Dropbox offer a lot of advantages from home or the workplace. Being able to store mirror files will allow us to save space on our hard drives and allow our computers to run smoother and faster. This could also be utilized by business and Universities. University students could use this to store things to a whole class or faculty, no matter the size and transfer large files between classmates with no hassle of loading or worrying about space on their e-mail. Businesses can utilize this service by being able to store large files away from their business database and not worry about slowing up their systems. They can also share files with businesses who they associate with instead of worrying about exceeding file size limits. This is a great medium for people to store large videos and photos without affecting the performance of their computers. There may be some privacy risk involved in these services because certain confidential photos or files could unintentionally be stored on these sites and available to groups of people.

  11. selenanova759

    ■How helpful are these cloud storage services for work or for home?
    ■What are some applications for business computing that you think would add value to a firm’s technology infrastructure?
    ■Are there any risks in using these services?
    who wouldnt want extra storage… and free? the reality is that anything can be lost/damaged. flashdrives, cd’s, hard drives, and in this case the possibility of a site closure. it is just the risk we take. i work by having everything in (at least) 2 places. if one of those places fail me, im not completely up to my neck and i have time to back it up again from the other source. in the past, i (semi) relied on facebook as my secondary backup for photos, this ended however after A: discovering that what i post on facebook i give up my right to, and B: several instances of friends getting into trouble for seemingly innocent photos posted online. so my question would be: just how secure are these forms of “cloud” storage? and the answer to that may be varying degrees of alarm to peoples varying degrees of privacy. if it is secured by a password i suppose it is just as secure as your email, online banking, blog, networking, etc… for a firm i would suggest creating something like this and applying it to the firms intranet. this could allow firmwide memos/ projects/ documents to be distributed, worked on, commented on, and shared in real time. but depending on the firm i would be weary about contracting this work out. and in the home i suppose its about reading the fine print of what your getting into and any rights you might be giving up for free storage.

  12. Taofikat

    I love the idea of cloud storage it creates adavantage of saving files in the workplace and out of work. there can also be some risk attached to it which is hackers going on there and getting all the information that is stored in your files. The good side is the ability to share files and folders among employees which is also like intranet it makes all departments works hand to hand which brings faster communication.

  13. Ifeoma Moseri

    I personally think cloud computing is a great idea. I use Google docs and it saves me the trouble of having to clean up my hard drive or the trouble of memory sticks. Companies have been storing data at central servers for ages, it’s nothing new. Companies have even been storing data at remote servers for years; this data is usually web / low-priority data but can be more depending. In both scenarios the company has administrative control over its data, the location and the security context around that data.

    Using “cloud computing” for data storage removes that administrative control and security context. Data is mixed with lots of other people’s data that is stored and spread out amongst a large geographical area. Because it’s not longer under your administrative control it is vulnerable to third party espionage along with whatever security vulnerabilities present with the controller. Even though it serves a great purpose in this era i still believe not everything should be stored using cloud computing. You never know.

  14. Nicole Hendry

    I think cloud storage is such a good idea. Everyone is so busy these days and often files are either forgotten on a computer at school, forgotten at home or forgotten on a memory stick that incidently you forgot to bring with you. Cloud storage is easy to access,inexpensive and very useful when your P drive at the U of L is full(haha). Having cloud computing implemented in a firm is a great way to keep teams unified. Projects are easily accessed by those who have the right to access them and feedback from fellow coworkers is a effective way of making sure the job is done with a high level of quality. Also, employees that may travel to different conferences for the firm will always be able to be in the know. Overall I think that the risk of using the service is not any different from storing files on a PC. There is always a chance of losing files but with cloud storage you also have the ability to have them in two places.

  15. Jatinder Aulakh

    •How helpful are these cloud storage services for work or for home?
    •What are some applications for business computing that you think would add value to a firm’s technology infrastructure?
    •Are there any risks in using these services?

    The cloud storage services are extremely helpful for home and for work. It is an easier way of sharing information and pictures with family and relatives. Also, for work it’s a better way to have a backup file in case your hard drive fails. Some applications for business computing that would add value to a firms technology is being able to access the information you saved from any computer and from anywhere. This comes in handy when you accidently forget your work or lose the flash drive your work was saved on. With the advantages of the cloud storage there are some risks such as people hacking your account and being able to access all your personal information. However, I still think it’s a neat idea and people just need to be smarter on how they send they sent their information across.

  16. Chelsa

    I believe that these cloud storage services are very helpful for work and home. I use one of these cloud storage services for most of my group work. It is a very convenient way to store files and give access to different people. It also allows people to be working on the same draft rather than trying to figure out which draft is the current one if you are are sending files via email. Using this storage medium also cuts down on the time you have to spend face to face and in meetings with others. It gives you the freedom to work on you assignment or other stuff where ever and whenever you like. It also cuts down the hassle of trying to arrange a time to meet. Some of the risks of using these services is that the company could go out of business and you could loose the information you were storing on the site and you don’t really know where your information is or who has access to it. There are some things that people store on their computers that they probably would not want anyone else to have access to. How do we really know our information is safe?

  17. Ashleigh

    I think these cloud storage services for use at work or at home are very helpful and can be very beneficial. Since as long as you can access to the Internet, you will be able to save all your work in one spot and work on it from wherever you are. This will probably save a lot of time and reduce the hassle of worrying about getting information onto a flash drive and bringing it everywhere you go. I think having phones with this application will make it very convenient for those who are always on the run and need to have quick access to it. The main risk I believe would be the threat of hackers. If you have all this information stored and a hacker gets in, it could all get lost and you would never see it again. Also, if you have any kind of personal information stored on the cloud, it could be a threat to you if someone accesses it.

  18. Alex Hedges

    I think that investing in such a ‘file hosting service’ would be very beneficial to the inner workings of a company. If a firm deals with clients that live in different parts of the world, or even if they live in a different part of the city, these online systems add a lot of convenience to file-sharing. These sites have the potential to save a lot of time and stress because one does not have to go to the trouble of attaching documents in an email to send to others or one ’s self. My only concern would be that no matter how safe a website is or claims to be, people still feel slightly uneasy when putting confidential information out in cyber-space. As we know, even with the necessary encryptions hackers may still be able to access protected information online. If such information was to get out, it could be detrimental to the company.

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