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Internet has proven an invaluable way to access and create content (which
becomes part of big data).
However, it now widely recognized as a vital for storing such data as well (in
According to Andrew
Kantor, technology writer of USA Today:
We're not only a more
mobile society, but we're also an almost entirely information-driven one. Data
are everything - names, addresses, documents, images, music, video - and we
feel the need to take it with us.
Big data and the cloud will define
future technology. Should the infrastructure needed to support them become more
widely available, the two will both develop and converge even more.
In a post
written for the Guardian, Guy
Clapperton says that
If cloud computing is
going to be as ubiquitous as some of the analysts and commentators believe,
then the future is going to be very different from previous projections.
Peter Cochrane sees the cloud as becoming universal.
We are moving
from a world of you and I online to everything online... We're talking
about all vehicles, all items you purchase, being part of the cloud.
says that this goes beyond recording locations of materials to the use of
nanosensors. The communications industry is also looking towards the cloud for
services like video calling, conferencing, and instant messaging.
that big data intersects with cloud because the problems
encountered in running cloud services are the same confronted by those dealing
with big data. Both are influencing the way computing will develop. Indeed one
can say that some of the same companies providing cloud services are also
investing in processing and analyzing big data. According to
McKinsey and Company:
In most industries, established
competitors and new entrants alike will leverage data-driven strategies to
innovate, compete, and capture value from deep and up to real time
Such data may increasingly be stored in the cloud.
Clapperton notes that the multinational nature of the cloud is a strong point. However,
he also recognizes that every country has different legal frameworks around
information, privacy, and cybercrime. These issues are yet to be reconciled. Management of cloud services is also an issue and so is insufficient bandwidth
to use them.
Privacy concerns persist with the use of the cloud. However, one
cannot deny that individuals, companies, and governments can lose data because
of human error or insufficient security measures. This includes throwing
sensitive documents in the trash, losing USB flash drives, and PCs being hacked.
We should also not forget that someone can choose to leak data as well. On the
other hand, data portability is important and so is understanding what happens
if your data is lost.
As civil society organizations investigate the use of cloud services they
should explore the connection between such use and the data-oriented future.
Doing so will help them to informatively and appropriately use cloud services.
It will also facilitate the use of data in the cloud for our work where
This post was authored by Keisha Taylor, from TechSoup's Guidestar
International office in London. During the month of October, join
TechSoup.org and the
TechSoup Global Network for our Cloud
Computing Worldwide campaign. Check back throughout the month for
blog posts, webinars, and dispatches from around the world on cloud computing
for nonprofits, NGOs, and public libraries.
Staff Writer, TechSoup