In the lead-up to the live Techlines: Cloud Control broadcast, we thought we'll give you a little more background on our featured panellists. We've asked each of them five questions regarding cloud computing and specified that they be as brief as possible in the answers (there will be plenty of time to go into more detail on 17 February).
Futurist Mark Pesce
Mark Pesce is an inventor, writer, educator and broadcaster (who also featured on the panel of our last TechLines event). He is also a panellist and judge on the ABC TV series The New Inventors. Here are Mark's answers to our pre-event questions.
Why aren't companies moving faster to cloud computing?
Inertia, mostly. And fear. Where is your data, when it's in the cloud? Who has it? Can I get to it? Is it secure? (See Question 4.)
Which business systems are best suited to move to cloud computing?
First and foremost, media: your photos, charts, video, audio, training materials, which should all be accessible anywhere, anyway. Next: messaging, both email and IM. This, however, tends to be more sensitive, and that argues against a move to the cloud. Encrypted backups belong in the cloud.
But this is all business-as-it-is, rather than business-as-it-is-becoming, which will use the cloud rather differently. I'll have a good think about that. But consider: I should be able to run my entire business (even a billion-dollar business) from my mobile or tablet. I'll need the cloud for that.
How easy is it to bring everything back in-house if a company decides to abandon the cloud?
That's a very good question, innit? And I reckon a lot of it depends on your cloud provider. Choose wisely or pay the price later.
What's your response when someone says they "don't trust the cloud"?
Complete agreement. There are so many ways the cloud is untrustworthy: if your net connection goes down; if the cloud provider goes down; if the cloud is corrupted by malicious hackers; if your data is stolen through a security breach, etc.
Cloud is clearly a new technology and needs some caution, care and attention. However, it is growing and maturing very quickly.
Tell us one thing cloud computing isn't.
It's not clear that cloud computing is intrinsically more energy efficient than the alternative. You still need desktops and laptops, you've just offloaded a few servers. Is this cutting down on your carbon footprint? Very hard to say, really, even though it is touted as one of the virtues of cloud computing.
Hear more from Mark and our other panellists at the TechLines: Cloud Control live broadcast, which will take place on ZDNet Australia at noon (AEDST) on 17 February. Check out the calendar feature in the right column to get a reminder closer to the event.