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Why Our Love Affair with the Cloud is Changing


There's a new thing called Cloud Repatriation in the computing world. I suppose it's the opposite of expatriation which officially means 'to withdraw oneself from residence in one's native country'. In this context however, the term refers to repatriating your servers and computing power into your office and getting it off the cloud. In simple terms, take all that effort you spent shoving your stuff into the cloud - and reverse it.

'But why!?' I hear you cry. Or perhaps you’re not, since by asking that very question you probably already know full well why. But in case you are still asking 'But why!?', let me jog your memory.

Go Cloud, go go go!

The concept of shoving all of your worldly digital belongings onto someone else’s kit was all the rage some years ago. It was 'safe', 'fast', 'cheaper' and 'convenient'. It seemed like a good idea, for only a few quid per month, I could have the latest version of some software programme and have it keep the files it created on some server somewhere for only a few extra pounds per month. I could access those files anywhere and it would be safe, and hacker free and I wouldn't need to worry about backups because it is all taken care of. That was the idea anyway. First stop ….

SPEEEEEED

Anyone who has dipped their toe into the Cloud (is that even possible?) became aware of the reality in less time than it takes to upload a low resolution JPEG: in the UK at least, upload speeds on broadband connections are woefully slow - if you get 2Mb you're incredibly fortunate. To put this into perspective that's five times slower than the worst 10Mb network I used to install in offices when Windows 95 was fashionable - way back in, er, 1995. We’ve got the world’s most powerful computing workhorse sat on our lap, connected to something that on a bad day, is barely faster than good old dial up.

Ransomware and Hacking

If you follow IT security, you'll be aware that on a daily basis, someone somewhere is getting their data knicked. Carphone Warehouse, government bodies (good luck there with the GDPR regulations coming in to force, is the UK government going to fine itself the next time it gets hammered with another WannaCry-alike ransomware virus as it did last year - I doubt it) to name a few. It turns out that sticking your beloved data on an entirely public network isn’t that safe after all (funny that).

Legislation

That cracking initiative developed by the terribly computer savvy politicians back in Brussels HQ, known as GDPR, has, at its core, a regulation that says EU data cannot be exported overseas without prior permission - effectively giving the Google Drives and the Dropboxes of this world something to fret about. Of course, they'll use their EU data centres and if they don't, it doesn't matter because you, the user of these cloud storage services will get fined anyway if it gets found out they've stuck your beloved data in a Chinese Bitcoin mine somewhere. Of course, all of this is easily enforceable, especially by those savvy politicians, some of them have even upgraded to Nokia Communicators with WAP. We live in the future.

Cost

Subscription services for products that shouldn’t be subscribed to, like storage space or office productivity software. Forget pay once use forever, no, lets pay once, get it for a month. Then pay again. Repeat. These costs add up rapidly – and certainly for medium to large companies, it’s simply far more expensive to keep stuff cloud based than putting it back in the office.  Somehow and in some parallel universe, the sales guys wound up getting us all excited by the cloud and managed to get us to pay more for what we already had in the first place.

Hypocrisy Alert

Now at this point, it can be fair to say I’m a hypocrite. Our business is founded on cloud services and our customers find them convenient and useful. I don’t want to sound like I’m poo-pooing the Cloud generally, but there are some things that are simply better off left in your office – your data. The lifeblood of your business, the make or break that sets you apart from your competitors. I tell you what, let’s stick it all somewhere outside of this country on someone else’s computers in a company that’s being going barely a few years and where Dave, a disgruntled ex-employee who was ‘let go’ has helpfully taken a copy of your internet usage, GPS location history for the past 5 years and that email you sent to your ex. And this is what repatriation is all about.

So what now….!

Stick it all back in the office, buy yourself some storage devices with terabytes to fill to the brim. Keep the backups offsite (if encrypted, yes, a good use of the Cloud, but better take them offsite physically but still encrypted). It’s never been cheaper or easier to plug this stuff in and it’s blisteringly fast. Private clouds can still be accessed remotely, even the most basic storage device allows you to remotely log in (please use secure passwords though, I know they’re hard to remember but pa55w0rd doesn’t cut it these days). You probably still won’t stand much of a chance against people like Dave (most attacks still occur from inside the organisation) but at least you can say you tried and that’s what those bods over at Brussels HQ want to hear.

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