Stay grounded or hit the clouds...this article makes some good points.
San Diego Real Estate - Has the time finally come for "Computing in the Clouds"?
Maybe so but what is it? Literally, it is keeping your files up on the Internet in a secure site. Not so hard for us in real estate to imagine as most of MLS records are stored that way.
The advantages are certainly something to think about as we begin to separate the need to access data from the desire to control it from our hard drives. With Internet access so easy today with the accessibility of the broadband services, there is less of a need to house even the software that we work our data through. Online services are becoming so prevalent, that the need for these huge hard drives is beginning to wane and the need for fast Internet service and accessibility is increasing at exponential speed.
Now imagine all your program software if they were on line. No more resident software programs on your hard drive. In fact no need for the huge hard drive, either. Even Microsoft recognizes the value of this. They are said to be developing on line versions of Microsoft Office. Normally the software would reside on the hard drive, but with viruses and hackers about, it is much easier for someone to hack into your computer. The on-line versions are far more secure.
Top Producer as well as many other real estate contact management programs compute in the clouds. Soon, I expect that all email will reside on the Internet and not on hard drives. I do wonder about deleting it, however, will it really go away?? And no more junk mail, Ok, I made that part up, but it might not be so far fetched with more and more programs on line and the possible ability to "smart think" what is good mail from the junk or as so many companies think of it as "opportunity mail".
For most savvy computer users , especially in the corporate world, up to this point, Cloud Computing has inferred mostly online backup storage for files and data.
There are a variety of companies that specialize in back up services for a resident data files. Whatever data currently resides on your computer can be stored as a back up. But back-up is just one of the services.So I expect, most computing will be in the Clouds.
The higher broadband speeds has made current data transfer feasible. Google had the idea about "cloud computing" years ago with it's introduction of Google Docs. Files could be accessed from anywhere and shared. It made collaboration not only possible but opened up a whole new frontier now known as " Cloud Computing".
But there are other reasons besides security and easy access that is generating such a ground swell in "Cloud Computing". The cost. The costs are far more affordable than the sum of the parts , meaning that the software, the security and the hardware needed to store your data. When done on line with much larger servers, where data can be encrypted, and the software programs are online, not needing to buy the separate software and the have the huge hard drives to operate them, the savings are enormous. Not to even mention also needing the expert care of other professionals from time to time to keep it all running and working .
And you don't have to copy data to CD's to access from a remote computers. Wherever there is online access, so is the data and the programs to operate it.
Sounds like a Win Win to me!