The good news: Traditional file storage will be available from anywhere. Content can be purchased and shared across multiple devices such as TVs and mobile devices. Document sharing and collaboration are possible without having to install software is another promising feature.
Data and identity could be safer since it no longer resides on your laptop or storage device which you could lose control of. Backups will be performed by your provider, so you will no longer have to remember to perform or schedule these tasks.
The operating system will be the same on any Windows device. So tablets, smartphones, laptops and desktops will all use the same operating system. One benefit of this feature would be that you could continue working on a file that you started on your laptop, on another computer or your mobile device, without having to copy the file. Change the file on one device, it automatically synchs to other devices you use.
There will be less fiddling around with updates (since the applications or software will update itself). There will also be less local problems to resolve (since bugs and fixes will occur “in the cloud” with no need for support from another IT company or department within your organization. The end user does not have to maintain hardware, software and security. It is all done by your service provider.
Possible issues: The most obvious down side to cloud computing is that you have to have access to the internet. If you connection goes down or if there is a problem with the host servers, there is no way to access your data.
Windows 8 and cloud computing is thus far, a tablet and consumer based effort. Businesses are likely to lag in making the change due to their current reliance on Windows XP and may be reluctant to conduct the switch. This could take some of functionality away from the “work to commute to home” concept of cloud computing. Remember that many companies skipped Vista and went directly to Windows 7. Some experts are predicting a similar phenomenon this time, where companies move to the more known Windows 7, then skip Windows 8 to wait and see what comes next.
Although data security is a strength, it may very well be a weakness in some people’s eyes, especially since a huge customer base is located in just one place. Well known businesses that currently use cloud computing are frequently in the news for breaches, attacks and privacy issues. Data ownership may become a concern as well. If you discontinue using a cloud service, will you be able to get your data back or how do you know it has been destroyed? There have already been examples of online storage sites shutting down abruptly, causing users to clambering to recover their data.
Tool robustness is another yet to be resolved issue. Many cloud based tools aren’t as powerful as their desktop software counterparts. One example would be the inability to track changes in a text file.