I am evaluating Web 2.0/Office 2.0/Enterprise 2.0 applications for our company and clients. Today I signed up for some trials and in the registration process I noted that by registering I was "agreeing" to the "terms and conditions". So, being the kind of guy that actually reads the fine print, I did.

I found this section most reassuring: (Name redacted)

I. XYZ CORP MAKES NO WARRANTIES.
XYZ Corp is in no way liable for loss of customer data. Under no circumstances will XYZ Corp be held accountable for any loss of customer data. By becoming a XYZ Corp user you, the customer, acknowledge that you forfeit the right to hold XYZ Corp accountable for any and all technical errors, including loss of user files (customer data).

In the event that XYZ Corp concludes offering data storage services, XYZ Corp users will receive the option to have their stored files sent to them in CD or other format selected by XYZ Corp. XYZ Corp does not guarantee length of service.

XYZ Corp intends for the information contained on its Site and Services to be accurate and reliable; however, errors sometimes may occur.  In addition, XYZ Corp may make changes and improvements to the information provided herein at any time.  XYZ Corp PROVIDES ITS SITE AND SERVICES “AS IS,” “WITH ALL FAULTS” AND “AS AVAILABLE,” AND THE ENTIRE RISK AS TO SATISFACTORY QUALITY, PERFORMANCE, ACCURACY, AND EFFORT IS WITH YOU. ...

It goes downhill from there, with page upon page of disclaimers.

Will this stop me from using this Web 2.0 services?

Probably not.

Will I think twice before I move data I care about in the cloud?

Probably.

I did not post the disclaimers about no guarantee of security and privacy... They are even more entertaining.

This is not to gripe against Office 2.0/Web 2.0 but rather to call people's attention to the fine print.

These vendors want us to consider them as replacements for the desktop or servers.

Consumers need to make informed choices.

Discussion/Comments (5):

Oh, yes. This makes me want to move my data into the cloud

Excellent post. This makes even more sense in a small business where loss of data can cause the whole business to shut down.

Areas like this is where local services are vital. From Foundations perspective, the pricing is even more attractive in the long run. (for SMBs)

- Bilal

Posted at 3/18/2009 12:31:08 PM by Bilal Jaffery


Oh, yes. This makes me want to move my data into the cloud

you are right, but the EULA on a locally installed application uses similar language. Vendors and community developed software under GPL alike disclaim all responsibility. The difference is that with a local application when it breaks you still have all the pieces. With an Open Source GPL application you have all the pieces and you can put them back together. In the cloud someone else has all the pieces, in this instance at least they are making an offer to send you the pieces, which puts you back to a position similar to having proprietary software.

Posted at 3/18/2009 1:20:09 PM by Alan Bell


re: Oh, yes. This makes me want to move my data into the cloud

Thanks, Alan, for pointing this out. I'm aware that all software applications, including our own eProductivity software, disclaim some level of responsibility. Ultimately we, as consumers, must take responsibility for where we park our data, how we manage (or don't manage) it and how we back it up (or don;t back it up, as the case may be).

I meet far too many people that incorrectly think of the could as some nirvanna-like computing solution that does everything, including handling their data for them. When I ask them if they have backups of what's important to them they tell me, "Oh, I don't have to backup my data, I keep it all in the cloud!" Yeah, right.



The point of my blog post, as you have identified is that with cloud computing you may not have control or access to your data. That does not mean that one should not consider cloud services - I use several - it only means that we must continue to informed customers and continue to take responsibility for our data.

Posted at 3/18/2009 2:03:31 PM by Eric Mack


Oh, yes. This makes me want to move my data into the cloud

Coming from Novell's iFolder (www.ifolder.com) idea, I've always used the cloud as a tool to sync data between local copies. I've fallen off the internet far too often in unexpected ways and always at inconvenient times to trust 'the cloud' as a tool. What we call 'the cloud' is an incredibly long and complex chain of hardware and software, each bit of which can go bang, and purveyors of 'cloud computing' are far too busy implementing and selling the next best thing to properly pay attention to scalability, backup, disaster planning, and most of all: migratability.

Posted at 3/22/2009 12:25:47 AM by Bert Plat


re: Oh, yes. This makes me want to move my data into the cloud

Excellent points, Bert. The cloud is a powerful tool. It has its strengths and weaknesses. Used appropriately it can be a valuable part of a computing strategy.

Posted at 3/22/2009 10:24:05 AM by Eric Mack



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