I have written several times recently about cloud computing (see http://tinyurl.com/yjtadoh). I believe cloud computing is the wave of the future for genealogy record keeping as well as for many, many other purposes. There are many advantages to keeping your data on web servers that are available from anyplace with an Internet connection and that have frequent backups made. Data stored in cloud computing environments may be either private or shared with others, depending upon the preferences of the user and of the programmers who created the particular application that is running in the cloud. Different applications will implement privacy in different ways.
Storing critical data on a cloud computing provider's servers raises several questions. Can the employees of the cloud provider be able to see your data or change it? Can other customers of the cloud provider hack into your data and get access to it? And what about privacy issues and government regulations?
In fact, these are all real possibilities if proper precautions are not taken. System administrators have dealt with many of these issues for years in other environments, but cloud computing raises the concerns even higher than ever before. In the comments sections of some of my previous articles about cloud computing, newsletter readers have voiced legitimate concerns about cloud computing security. Luckily, there are known and proven solutions to these concerns.