Why Switch To The Cloud? 20 Benefits of Cloud Computing

Are you overwhelmed with data and unable to organize it properly? Are you frustrated with the expense of computers and the frequent updates in both hardware and software? Do you have difficulty keeping your genealogy data on the desktop, laptop, and tablet computers in sync with each other so that you always have your data with you wherever you might need to access it? Have you encountered hard drive crashes, viruses, or other reliability problems?

There is a solution for you. It won’t be perfect for all things and it will require some changes to your established procedures and thought processes, but your best solutions might be found in the cloud.

I will suggest that an article by Cam Garrant and published in the Repsly web site (yes, that’s the name: Repsly) may contain some of the solutions you need. Why Switch To The Cloud? 20 Benefits of Cloud Computing is not a genealogy article. Instead, it is an article about becoming more efficient and using more reliable and cheaper services that are based in the cloud. The article is also aimed at business users but many of the suggestions offered in the article apply equally to genealogists.

As stated in the article’s introduction:

“What exactly is Cloud Computing? At it’s core, cloud computing is accessing and storing your information on storage in an external location, rather than locally. In fact, you probably utilize cloud computing on a daily basis without ever thinking about it. Anytime you use social media, watch a video on Netflix, check the balance in your checking account, use online documents such as Google Sheets, or check your email, you’re accessing the cloud.

“In their 2016 State of the Cloud Survey, Right Scale notes that Cloud adoption is up to nearly 95%. Why has using the cloud become such as normal part of all of our lives? The simple response is that it’s better than the alternative. Technology progresses over time and society begins to adopt it. But the cloud in particular has so many benefits over local storage that it seems worthwhile to list them out.”

I have to agree with the information in Cam Garrant’s article. I have moved about 90% of my computing to the cloud and am working on moving the remaining 10%. I didn’t do this all at once; the movement to the cloud occurred a little bit at a time over the past 3 or 4 years. However, I don’t ever want to go back to using Windows or Macintosh systems exclusively ever again. The recent failure of my laptop computer while early in a trip a few weeks ago has given me more incentive than ever to move the remaining 10% to the cloud.

If you move most things to the cloud, you can continue to use your present Windows or Macintosh system for both cloud-based operations and for locally stored data and applications. However, no computer lasts forever. Someday you will need to replace your present system(s) with something else. Will you need an expensive Windows or Macintosh? Or perhaps a cheaper and more useful tablet or Chromebook or some computing device that hasn’t yet been invented? Using the cloud provides you with options. I will suggest you should never be locked into one operating system ever again!

You can find Cam Garrant’s article in the Repsly web site at: https://www.repsly.com/blog/field-team-management/why-switch-to-the-cloud-20-benefits-of-cloud-computing.

4 Comments

Victoria W Sheldon June 30, 2020 at 1:45 am

One of the questions I have about moving to the cloud is: “What do you really need to save?” Let me clarify. As long as I have given an adequate citation to a source, such as a census page so someone else can find it, do I need to save a copy of that page, either on my home system or in the cloud? A non-genealogy example, my bank has all of my information readily available online. Is there a reason why I should print out or get a paper statement? Or even save a copy of it at all, even in the cloud, since the bank has it all. (Obviously, I would check it online to ensure accuracy and no fraud.) It seems to me that it is actually MORE secure if I don’t have a copy and nothing comes through the mail to me.

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My answer to your question is a resounding YES. Citations aren’t enough. Organizations and commercial databases with online genealogical or historical content aren’t banks. They don’t necessarily have legal or regulatory obligations to provide access. You never know when the online content might change, disappear or become inaccessible for some reason. I can’t imagine not being able to refer back to images of original records, because there’s always detail to revisit that citations won’t include. I do this all the time, and I think most in-depth genealogists are in this habit. I try to save as many records as possible along with information about where I found it.

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Storing data in the cloud is fine – until the cloud provider stops being paid. If that happens, through death or disability, all your data may be deleted after a period of time. Cloud providers also occasionally botch data migration or go out of business, with sometimes catastrophic consequences. See here for more details

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    You are absolutely correct: lack of payment after your death will result in deletion of the information unless you take steps NOW to preserve it online or elsewhere. Of course, the same is true when storing information ANYWHERE, whether in your own computer or in a backup or in a flashdrive, or printed on paper. In all cases, you need to take steps before your death to make sure that someone (or multiple people) will preserve and even propagate that information after your demise.

    Overall, I don’t see much difference between storing your data in the cloud versus storing it in other places. In all cases, it is up to YOU to make sure it is available to others after your demise. I have read too many stories about family members throwing out all the paper (or flashdrives or computer files) when cleaning out the belongings of a recently-deceased family member.

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