I have spent 20 years building my consulting firm. It is entirely composed of intellectual property (IP) built on 40 years of experience; the first three in a clinical setting, seventeen as a corporate manager, and the last twenty in my own business with several partners and associates.
The entire repository of this lifetime of work resides on a number of hard drives; one on my desktop, a second in the form of Apple’s Time Capsule, and another on a portable device squirrelled away in my safe deposit box at the bank, updated a few times a year.
I also use a remote cloud-based backup server, Carbonite, which updates and backs up all my files every night.
This IP is in the form of documents, presentations, templates, etc., as well as tens of thousands of emails to and from clients and colleagues. Above and beyond my IP, my repository also includes, on a personal note, some 20,000 photos; a lifetime of photographic memories.
I tell you all this because the recent push by every tech equipment maker to move everything into the “Cloud” scares the shit out of me. True, it is very convenient to have everything in one remote place easily accessible from any location. Yes, I believe the various vendors take safeguards to protect not only access to the data (how’s the working for ‘ya Target?) but also the data itself through multiple copies at different locations (maybe). But, I’m pretty sure none of this is for my benefit in the end. In fact, it’s all about creating a constant revenue stream for the vendors by renting something that I could just as easily own, i.e. storage. It’s like leaving your tires at the dealership for a fee every time you change over from Summer to Winter.
Millions of people the world over use Gmail or other “free” email services. Google just introduced Inbox, a new email service with a more modern interface. Nice. But where are my emails? With Google. If I fail to pay my monthly storage fee (once I’ve exceeded the limited “free’ amount) oops, sorry Mr. Steve, “No money, no honey” as the hookers used to say on Hamburg’s Reeperbahn.
So I use Gmail and other cloud storage for access from remote places; yes, it’s pretty handy. But I also make sure that the core of all my work is safely stored on multiple devices that I own, can touch and see.