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A ‘Cultural Shift’ to Online Backup By @ABridgwater | @CloudExpo #Cloud
Everything will be on the cloud. It almost sounds like overstatement even in 2016 doesn’t it?

Could we really get ourselves to the point where we regard the cloud layer as our first, primary, default and de facto location for data? The answer is: yes, we do already... although perhaps not all of us have even realized it yet.

When we do start to fully appreciate what the cloud computing layer of data storage and application services can really do for us, we will find ourselves almost ‘set free' from our previous notions of how we use the computers, laptops, tablets and smartphones that we regard as our most trusted devices today.

How cloud just kind of happened
Our user willingness to embrace the online (and therefore cloud-centric) world happened through a number of factors including:

  • The popularity of webmail services from Hotmail to Gmail and onwards so that users understood they had to move online to engage.
  • Better smartphone connection contracts so that users could afford to ‘dial-in' for connectivity to all manner of services at all times.
  • Widespread broadband services in many parts of the world.
  • The growing sophistication of the cloud computing hosting industry and the vendors within it who decided to focus heavily on the service and support elements to make cloud-based interactions and data management easier.

These factors and more have been enough to convince many of us that, in fact, online is a really good idea and the total shift toward a more connected existence is inevitable.

From usage... and so logically to backup
So... first came the applications, then came the data and then came the realization that online backup is a purely logical step in the same direction.

It seems almost surprising to be discussing the cultural shift to online backup given our widespread acceptance of online web services and applications that sit in such close proximity to the realm of cloud computing. In many ways though, it is a natural evolution of our wider shift to online. Suddenly we all get it, so now we want to find out how online backup works.

The first big truth is... data centers are safer than your computer. The second big truth is... online backup services are safer than your computer. The third big truth is... specialist cloud-centric vendors are better at looking after your data (and, thus, providing backup) than you are.

What cloud is good at
Cloud specialists in the online backup space have better firewall technologies than the average user or the average commercial company. They have better management provisioning controls to oversee data and where it flows to and from. And they have a better track record in not getting it wrong 24x7 because that's all they do all day.

What users are bad at
Users on the other hand are, in general, really good at being bad... which in turn makes them really good at being able to lose data.

  • Users are good at spilling water into their keyboards and their devices.
  • Users are good at leaving their computers plugged into the mains during electrical storms so that the devices end up ‘fried' as a result of power surges.
  • Users are good at using their devices on vacation and causing overheated battery failures and hard disk meltdowns.
  • Users are good at being hacked by malware and losing access to their data.
  • ... and finally, of course, users are really good at losing their smartphones.

Users are also good at getting computer virus infections and failing to back up their data on external sources with military grade 256-bit AES encryption. Has the penny dropped yet? Online backup specialists consider these kinds of functions as bread and butter within what they regard to be their core competency.

The cultural shift
Major ‘paradigm' shifts in information technology tend to come around once every five years. If this is 2016 (which it is of course), then let's remember that it was really only half a decade ago that the iPad arrived. As we stand today on the cusp of massive new adoption rates of ‘wearables' and Internet of Things devices, we are on a technology growth curve that we could barely have imagined at the turn of the decade. With these shifts in mind, the question of whether we use predominantly online data storage services and techniques (and, consequently, online backup) will be regarded as a ‘no brainer' by the end of the current decade.

The rationale for the shift to online backup is being driven by our own use cases and behavioral trends. We want to be able to switch devices between work, home, car, office, gym and so on - and so we want access to all our privacy secured data all of the time. Why then store it in one place or a variety of disconnected unsecure spaces? Answer: ultimately we won't.

Everything will be on the online cloud from front-end app data to backup baseline data. If it sounds like an overstatement today, you can be sure that it won't sound this way tomorrow.

This post is brought to you by IDrive Inc.

About Adrian Bridgwater
Adrian Bridgwater is a freelance journalist and corporate content creation specialist focusing on cross platform software application development as well as all related aspects software engineering, project management and technology as a whole.

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