Can the Economist entirely be trusted?

The Economist is debating the proposition, 'This house believes that the cloud can't be entirely trusted.' A leading question, if ever I heard one, but clearly the outcome should be a resounding 'No' vote.

I think a publication with the renowned integrity and impartiality of The Economist would have the sense to put its hand on its heart and say, 'We try our best and we're the best there is, but no, you can't entirely trust any source.' But if it were put in a position of asserting its trustworthiness against alternative publications it would surely have no choice but to speak out with a resounding voice in its own favor.

Thus I ask all my readers to vote a resounding 'no' to the proposition in the current Economist Debate, "This house believes that the cloud can't be entirely trusted." I've written here about many of the pitfalls to be avoided in the cloud, as with any computing platform, but the alternatives to a good cloud provider are far too flaky to be worth considering.

As fellow Enterprise Irregular Vinnie Mirchandani recently posted to the debate (and to his own blog), "the incumbent, on-premise establishment ... can overprice, under-deliver, cause massive overruns, suck out 80% of our IT budgets for routine work — but we need to keep trusting them." It is no surprise that the heritage of buggy, unproven and unwarrantied software that businesses and individuals have been saddled with by the established vendors over many years has led us to instinctively mistrust any computing that forces us to rely on a third party.

Yet despite our understandable caution, it is far better to trust the cloud, where security and performance are continuously open to public scrutiny, where costs can be predictably mapped to actual value delivered and where the technology is constantly kept up-to-date for no extra cost or disruption to the customer. Provided the buyer makes proper due diligence and precautions, there is in my view no alternative form of computing that is more trustworthy.