Most talk about the cloud is focused on the magic ability to access tools, services, and data from virtually anywhere because the cloud is everywhere…except when it’s not. I got to experience that fun first hand today, and it highlights a serious drawback to relying on the cloud.
I woke up, made some coffee, and started streaming some music from the cloud in preparation for getting to work this morning. I stepped away from my desk for a few minutes and returned to a silent office. What happened to my streaming music?
What happened to my streaming music is that my Internet connection went down. If it were just the music service itself that went down, I could get by. I am sure I can get my work done without listening to Adele, but it is much harder to do anything productive when the entire Internet connection is gone.
No Internet means no Google Docs, which means no writing. It means no Gmail, which means no email. It means no access to the Web, no Facebook, no Twitter, and no Google+. What do you do with a PC when you depend on entirely on the cloud, and the cloud isn’t there?
Before starting the 30 Days With the Cloud project, at least I had more options. I still wouldn’t have access to new email, but I’d be able to read and respond to whatever emails were already in my Inbox (Granted—the responses wouldn’t actually be sent until I got connected to the Internet again). I could still open up Microsoft Word and write.
Because I have access to a number of gadgets and technologies, I didn’t stay disconnected long. I just turned my iPhone 4S into a Wi-Fi hotspot and jumped back online while I waited for Comcast to come back to life. But, not everyone has a “Plan B” for connecting to the Internet.
In fact, a lack of stable connectivity or sufficient broadband speed are reasons that the cloud may not be for everyone in the first place. I can ramble on about the trials and tribulations I experienced today when my super speedy broadband had an outage of some sort, but in many parts of the country there is no super speedy broadband to begin with.
I am sure I will come back to this issue later in this 30 Days series. The fact is that the cloud provides a variety of benefits and advantages, but it also comes with one very serious Achilles heel.