The world’s biggest IT fair opened Tuesday amid concerns over the security of its featured technology — cloud computing — after some 150,000 Google email accounts vanished into the ether. The theme of this year’s CeBIT expo in Hanover, northern Germany, is “Work and Life with the Cloud” and “cloud computing,” or the idea of storing data online rather than on individual machines, is the fair’s undisputed buzzword.
“Cloud computing is the mega-trend in the high-tech sector. It is going to change the IT sector completely,” said August-Wilhelm Scheer, president of BITKOM, which represents the technology sector in Germany. “Many people are using cloud computing without even knowing it,” he added, citing a BITKOM survey showing only one in eight people knew what the term meant, despite being avid users already.
Cloud computing users are effectively storing their data on gigantic servers somewhere in the world, linked by Internet, rather than saving them physically on their own computer’s hard drive. The advantages for business are clear — no need to build and maintain costly IT centres for data storage.