Heads in the cloud – Are we relying on online storage too much?

Like many of us this summer, I will be heading off on holiday soon. When I get back I will probably be posting many of my snaps on to a social platform to store and to share with friends - again, I'm sure many of you will be doing the same. While I always try to keep a copy of all my photos and videos on my computer, an increasing number of us are solely relying on online storage and not backing up to our computers.

This raises a highly valid point - what if something happens to this online storage, we don't renew a subscription or, even worse, something horrible happens to us and we are no longer around to pay for or manage these subscriptions? I think the cloud is brilliant (and no, I'm not just saying that because I work for Microsoft) but I share people's fears about our culture and treasured personal data being transferred more and more to online platforms. Indeed, Apple co-founder Steve Wozniak has put his concerns about the cloud on record, saying: “I really worry about everything going to the cloud. I think it’s going to be horrendous. I think there are going to be a lot of horrible problems in the next five years… I want to feel that I own things,” Wozniak said. “A lot of people feel, ‘Oh, everything is really on my computer', but I say the more we transfer everything onto the Web, onto the cloud, the less we’re going to have control over it.”

Certainly his words ring a few alarm bells. On the subject of images - the need for photo albums has almost bit the dust in recent years due to the amount of people now uploading their prized photos online rather than printing them. I much prefer to live in a world where any future children I have get a chance to discover that dusty family photo album in the attic one day and gaze in amazement at the collection of photos of me being stupid at various locations around the UK and the world. Holding something personal and treasured in your hands feels a lot more real (and perhaps safer) than dumping everything online.

It would be interesting to hear your views on this topic! Please feel free to comment on this post.

Posted by Howard - Microsoft UK Public Sector Content and Communities Manager 

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