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Overcoming legacy thinking: Chromebooks in a Windows work world

The biggest barrier to Chromebooks adoption might be legacy thinking, not legacy systems.

To any smart businessperson, a Samsung Chromebook at $249 is an appealing alternative to a Dell E6430 Latitude costing $750 or more. It costs one-third the price. What's not to like?

Yet I struggle when I'm asked "Can we buy a Chromebook instead of a laptop?"

It doesn't help that I'm usually sitting in a client's office taking notes on my Samsung Series 5 550 Chromebook. The client sees my behavior and thinks "He's using it. So it will work for us."

Choices

The client doesn't see all the choices I've made that make the Chromebook work for me. I always have Internet access via "hotspot" sharing on my iPhone or iPad. My data is all stored in Google Apps, Google Drive and other online applications. I print using Google's Cloud Print, and I send scanned documents directly to Evernote online. A Chromebook works fantastically well for people that can work 100% in the cloud.

But many organizations and users aren't 100% in the cloud; some users still have data and/or applications only available on legacy systems. Chromebooks wouldn't be a good choice for those users.

In fact, deploying Chromebooks may increase complexity in organizations running a legacy Windows Server environment. The tech team has to figure out how to manage user authentication, enable access to data, and configure printing for yet another platform. (Insert all of your favorite cranky system administrator complaints about bring-your-own-device environments here.)

Organizations using Google Apps should test Chromebooks, since deploying Chromebooks and Google Apps together provides many benefits. In settings where Google Apps are used, the login issues are gone: users securely login to Google Apps. There's no need for antivirus software. Users can't install software. Google Docs files are always safely stored online. Data is stored online, not on the device, which is a huge security improvement compared to traditional laptops.

But the biggest barrier to Chromebooks adoption might be legacy thinking, not legacy systems.

Legacy thinking

Many working professionals have built very strong mental models based on traditional file systems. Ask many professionals to create a document and they'll open Microsoft Word, create a document, then save the file. Ask the same person to share a document. They'll open Outlook, write an email, then send the file as an attachment. Their mental model of work is file centric: create a file, send an attachment.

Chromebooks - and Google Apps - are built with an underlying mental model that is access centric, not file centric. You can create and edit documents from anywhere, as long as you can access your Google Apps account. You share these documents by giving access to others. Google Apps enables people to collaborate on documents in ways that even the most recent versions of Office365 and iWorks simply don't. Google Apps and Chromebooks enable multiple users to edit shared documents simultaneously, in real time.

That's the mental model change that's needed: share access, not files. This can be difficult to understand for people who grew up saving and organizing traditional files and folders.

For example, I recently worked with a group of professionals that had adopted Google Apps for email, calendaring, and Google Drive for file storage. They wanted to collaborate on documents. I learned they'd been uploading Microsoft Word documents to Google Drive, and then sharing the native-format Word file with their colleagues. People would download a copy of the file, make edits, then store the new file back to Google Drive. They were treating Google Drive just like they had their legacy file server: it was a storage place, nothing more. We spent a fun morning together walking through the mechanics of collaborative editing and sharing in Google Docs.

Bottom line

So if you're considering a purchase of Chromebooks, don't just look at people (like me!) who happily use a Chromebook and Google Apps. Look at your organization's users - and their mental models of work and workflow. Because moving everything to the web really can change how and where you work. But first, you might need to change how you think about files and collaboration.

Also read:

About

Andy Wolber helps people understand and leverage technology for social impact. He resides in Ann Arbor, MI with his wife, Liz, and daughter, Katie.

52 comments
petroski1952
petroski1952

People - two words - REMOTE DESKTOP! Provide all your Windows apps and company data on a terminal server and use Chromebooks as local and/or remote terminal services clients. And look what else you can use them for ...

BdeJong
BdeJong

If you know someone that uses a Chromebook and have their email you can lock them out of their Chromebook by going online and just randomly type in passwords until google locks the account. I wonder if any scriptkiddies are active on this? DuH

hometoy
hometoy

I realized in order to get the most out of the Cr-48 (pilot program) Chromebook, that I was going to have to take the time and effort to move things into a web-centric existence. It was not immediate, or full-capable but it has been a great experiment. Google has done a great job integrating (almost) all of the aspects of general computing with Gmail, Contact, Calendars, Docs, Drive, Google+, Hangouts and more. My children are using Google Apps for Education which is a fantastic idea. It manages the students and their works, eliminate OS differences and file compatibility for homework without forcing people to buy certain products or types of products to "keep up" or to hope the Library is up-to-snuff.

ernie
ernie

Great article. I have been helping K-12 schools all over the country migrate to 1:1 models for several years. When deploying 50 to 1,050 devices at a school site, budget limitations are real and options need to be considered. Over the last 2 years, many of our schools, with our assistance and planning model (SWIMGrid), have chosen the Chromebook and Google Apps / Drive / Tools ecosystem and are doing quite well. The per-device cost is 1/3 to 1/2 of iPads or laptops. Build quality seems to have been improved with the latest Samsung Model. The biggest challenge has been keeping up with the constant changes, improvements and updates from Google. What you are making it better? Again? Welcome to technology K-12. Your comment about "access-centric" vs "file-centric" is spot on. I will share our key to success in K-12 schools...1) Assess, train and support classroom teachers first and foremost. 2) Be sure students get access to basic skills before being introduced to integrated classroom content. 3) Integrate existing classroom content first so teachers feel comfortable with the lessons they are asked to use, "do the heavy lifting for them" and bring these integrated lessons to teachers on a "silver platter". 4) Be sure the network and wireless infrastructure is bullet proof and finally 5) be sure assessments are in place and project management responsibilities are established. There is not a one-size-fits all approach for K-12 schools and last but not least, a one day in-service is NOT the answer! #btek12 #swimgrid #edtech

LedLincoln
LedLincoln

while we in IT cling to our old hardware-based client-server and local software suite models. The people we are supposedly serving are finding us increasingly irrelevant. It's a BYOD world, and people are going to use the devices they want to use. Might be time to re-assess your career path.

Gisabun
Gisabun

From an IT administrator prospective, do you want to complicate things further by having to now support Chromebooks [with its own set of applications] on top of smartphones and what you already have to support [whether Windows, Mac, etc.]? Can you [as an IT administrator] actually control the Chromebooks such that Bob in accounting doesn't tinker with network settings or Ruth in marketing doesn't install something she should have? It's one thing if it is a 5 user company but gets tough for a 500 user company. I've heard plenty of groans from IT administrators every time they have to add support to another type of device.

dave
dave

All of this is great when you have access to the cloud. The world is not so simple. WiFi is not always available or overloaded with too many users. Tethering to 3G / 4G etc is not so cheap in Canada. Also you are working with company files, customer lists, etc. They are now in the cloud. You have not discussed on the fly encryption. There have been tooooo many companies that have had lost / stolen data, customer records, etc on legacy systems and now you want to put that in the cloud and make it easier to get to. Now with all your data in the cloud Google, or any other provider, can hand over any/all of that data on a whim to anyone who flashes a letter that includes a gag order. Like all the previous "must haves" that have come and gone (like many CIOs) make your decisions carefully. Just because Andy thinks that this is the next best thing to sliced bread doesn't mean that the peanut butter will stick.

BillGates_z
BillGates_z

...would i spend anything on a limited tech device locked to Google? I can find a laptop as hardware capable and even better than a Chromebook that doesn't lock me into the "cloud".

LedLincoln
LedLincoln

It's about using a cloud ecosystem vs. traditional client-server networks. The Google-Amazon-Evernote-Microsoft-Apple-etc. cloud is where the competition for the future is happening, but the hardware can be traditional laptops and desktops, phones, tablets, and devices yet to be imagined.

Chaz Chance#
Chaz Chance#

Apart from price, what other reason do you have to buying Chromebooks? Everything else in the article can be accomplished with any of the competing products. Oh, and i am told that because of bulk buying discounts, my high power 19 inch laptop cost less than a Chromebook.

allenfalcon
allenfalcon

For many of our customers, we provide VDI environments that run in the Chrome browser (or any HTML5 browser) for those that still need MS Office. It's is not expensive of complex, and provides a transition until all legacy applications and data migrate into cloud services (if ever)

wizard57m-cnet
wizard57m-cnet

Or succumbing to a marketing ploy to "return to legacy", as in the old dumb terminal connected via network to a mainframe somewhere, that someone else sets up, maintains, and bills you for the access, like in the late 1970s til mid 80's. We've spent some 30 years cutting those strings, now we're told that's all we need. Anybody have an old Intel terminal, or maybe a Compaq? We used those. May have been monochromatic, but the underlying principle is the same.

Tony Hopkinson
Tony Hopkinson

I open word to write a document on my windows box, because word is installed and that's what it's for. On my linux box I open Libre. I don't open Outlook, I fire up the oojah that send emails. I don'e open IE to have a look at what people are doing on TR, I open my browser, which happens to be Chrome... It would only be Legacy thinking, at the point I come to buy some new kit. I'm used to Office, so I'll buy a windows box. Maybe I'll look at a Chrome box, when my kit finally dies, may be I'll think, well Outlook and word are things I do very rarely, and what I really need is Visual Studio, of the ability to work off line. What I won't be doing is making that decision, based on a fad, or a fashion or the barking of some sheepledog. When you look at the OS and applications question from a busines perspective, things become even more problematic. My advice, you want to sell Chrome? Leave off with the cool, fashionable and trendy arguments, they aren't going to fly with the money men. They aren't thinking legacy, they are thinking bottom line.

aidemzo_adanac
aidemzo_adanac

You answered a few questions, well confirmed my earlier thoughts anyway. I was just looking at Chromebooks myself as MOST of what I do now is cloud and I only need a powerhouse at home. I ended up going against it though because I still would like some access to standard apps and tasks, the SSD is tiny etc. I already use a Dell notebook (groan) with 128GB SSD for work, which is fine for work but just not enough for my personal use too. For work, everything is cloud based and as our company is a Tier2 network and owned by a a computer engineer, things are as slicker than snot on a ducks lip. I have gone from spending an hour preparing quotes (my last role, different industry) to about 45 seconds. I can process invoices, send paid receipts, schedule shipping and have everything integrate with our cloud based CRM. It's absolutely incredible what they have done here to streamline a salesman's day. That said, your article confirmed my initial thoughts and, though I think Chrome books have a great niche, it's just a niche and not enough for me.

Mark W. Kaelin
Mark W. Kaelin

Okay, I admit it - I continue to find it difficult to break out of my "legacy thinking" when it comes to the way I get work done. Last week Andy talked about how deploying Chromebooks could simplify IT and received criticism that largely reflected an aversion to an underlying mental model that is access centric. Isn't that the real problem with all of these cloud-based schemes - they require us to change how we approach information technology? Is that really a bad thing?

hometoy
hometoy

While my login is enough to get me into my Chromebook, my 2-step authentication still runs and is required in order to get anywhere in the system where somebody can change that.

Tony Hopkinson
Tony Hopkinson

No account lock out on repeated attempts with the wrong password wasn't an option Tracking it by IP/DeviceID easily defeatable. No other option really, encrypted bio maybe fingerprint or iris, has a cost that especially to get round this issue. All you need is an other email, not that big a deal.

Tony Hopkinson
Tony Hopkinson

Heard this when Top Down Design was introduced. OO, the PC, Windows NT. Vista . The ribbon. SaaS The cloud, Java, .Net blah blah blah... I'm still here.

aidemzo_adanac
aidemzo_adanac

With the SSD drives being so small, there's not much a user can add to a drive anyway. They really are just hotspot computers, not good for much else. If you put Office and a couple of company apps in, you are sucking up most of your free space already. The focus is that apps aren't stored locally, they are just pushing cloud computing. My desktop at home has 1TB HD and an external TB too, just a LOAD of stuff going on, my my Dell notebook is just like a Chrome book in that it's designed for cloud computing, is super fast, has tiny 128GB SSD. I rarely actually download a file to it or store anything on it, it's just a tool, like a BIG phone for taking care of business on the road. I tether my phone to it, only 1GB data plan and it serves me fine. Data is very limited as it's just documents, invoice processing, tech tickets etc. but nothing is stored locally, no worries about support. If there are issues with software not working, it's online, not in my notebook.

aidemzo_adanac
aidemzo_adanac

Canadian supreme court judges still respect and uphold the privacy card with respect to providing a link between the ISP, IP address and user info. There have been three exceptions but only with respect to anonymity in a criminal case and where physical crime was involved, not copyright or simple gag order requests. The MPAA and RIA have no hope of getting user info from an ISP anymore, it's against Canadian Constitutional Rights, has been identified as much and remains that way. ONE Supreme Court judge tried to overrule it but it was very quickly appealed and his privacy was respected. The MPAA actually got screwed a while back too, they were allowed to collect info but the ISP refused and just gave the IP addresses. The ISP would rather be fined for noncompliance with the MPAA than get sued for a breach of privacy through Constitutional Rights. ISP's have provided IP addresses in bulk to MPAA, almost while laughing, because that data does not allow the MPAA to take action on an individual. They will not offer the contact details of the data owner. As far as cloud based security and privacy, it falls under very similar laws and Google does NOT have any rights to information stored in their cloud networks, it's quite different than a land line based ISP with a hard wired modem. If you were American you'd be right, there's no privacy laws protecting Americans, as you are Canadian I'm surprised you didn't realize life here was a lot more protected.

CharlieSpencer
CharlieSpencer

It doesn't fit mine either. In the early paragraphs and again at the end, Andy points out that just because it works for him doesn't mean it will for others. Like any tool, some will find this useful across the board; some in limited deployment, some not at all. Our jobs as IT are to figure where and when.

aflynnhpg
aflynnhpg

Like me you find yourself prefering apps like Lucid Charts over Visio because of the abilities offered via the cloud. Sharing files for example. We all know you can share and access Google Doc's files much easier then with MS Office. But what about workflow documents? Sharing a Visio document has never been easy. You either have to have a full version of Visio installed on every users machine that needs to be able to edit it (and then good luck keeping all the updates in sync) or you export the visio file to a spreadsheet or PDF or something that can't be edited. With cloud enabled apps like Lucid, you can share a workflow diagram with anyone, and give them access to edit it. You can embed it in a website easily. So, if you find yourself working in the cloud because you find cloud based apps to be more effective for your work than fat client installs, you may just wind up deciding that a chromebook is right for you. I'm using Lucid as an example here, but typically for me the top reasons for looking at cloud based apps are Sharing and Publishing abilities.

aidemzo_adanac
aidemzo_adanac

At work EVERYTHING I do is cloud based from my desktop. When I'm on the road at customer sites, EVERYTHING I do is cloud based from my notebook, tethered to my phone. In such cases, as the author has also described, cloud computing usually offers everything you need. Document sharing (Pricing, brochures, quotes and invoices), web browsing, access to company 'cloud based' CRM, cloud printing etc. If you need a personal notebook, for running your own software choices locally, editing graphics, video, audio, playing games, storing a lot of files and data etc. A Chromebook is not designed for your needs at all and doesn't claim to be. For work I run a Dell (blech), it has a tiny SSD (128GB) but is rocket fast for work computing needs. Intended use is exactly the same as a Chromebook and it certainly lives up to cloud based work needs.

CharlieSpencer
CharlieSpencer

I don't see myself using this paradigm (gods, did I actually use that word?) any time soon. Still, I question writing consecutive articles that focus on a specific brand when the concept applies to other platforms.

aidemzo_adanac
aidemzo_adanac

The whole idea of cloud computing is providing mobile users with a localized set of tools, which all others can use too. This saves a mobile worker from remote networking to company networks/servers, storing expensive software on each device etc. It's about mobility and ease of use, no local software etc. A 19" laptop SHOULD cost less than a Chromebook, who the hell wants to lug a 19" laptop, with 500GB+ HD etc around all day? I have a 17" too but it's just left at home, no way I'd lug it around all day. Most ghetto blasters are cheaper than iPods these days too. While, personally, I would take most portable stereos over an iPod, it's a matter of convenience. People don't want to lug around a boombox when they can have an iPod in a pocket, even when the boombox does more and sounds better. 19" laptop, LOL, they'll be giving them away for cereal box tops soon.

BdeJong
BdeJong

Considering you need a license for every "device" connecting to your VDI I think it is in fact more expensive.

aflynnhpg
aflynnhpg

If you ever had to support "Dumb Terminals" from an IT standpoint, it was certainly easier the dealing with Fat Clients. The Chromebook Architecture takes the best of being nearly stateless and makes managing devices much simpler for IT. Someone else in the thread said it earlier, this article is more about archtecture than Chromebooks. So the underlying archtecture is similar, but make no mistake, these are not connected to main frames in the cloud and their ability to run cloud apps that are able to compete with fat client installs of MS Office is light years ahead of any dumb terminal.

davelevy@work
davelevy@work

When you look at the legacy systems with dumb terminals we're talking about systems that required hard line and specific locations. Chromebooks rely on internet access, whether it be at home, work or on the road, which is not the same as a dedicated line that was only available to the super majority at their office. Chromebook set-ups and the "cloud-centric" thinking allow for work to take place for the super majority (in the first world) anywhere. That is the big, big change from legacy. In addition, while I'll admit that we are talking about limited utility without a connection to the internet, most of the work that the majority of people do in the big four apps is available offline on chromebooks: Email, Word Processing, Spreadsheet and Presentations. Is it every single option available in full blown office suites? No but it is the 95% that is used most often. And it gets better a lot more often than the every other year package that individuals could rarely afford if they paid the full MSRP for businesses.

andrew232006
andrew232006

I think there are inherent problems in the model. There are security issues with giving your data to a third party. There are backup issues. Maybe the third party can manage these issues effectively but many companies cannot afford to or are not allowed to make that assumption. And there are connection and bandwidth issues. If the internet connection should fail for any reason, the company may have hundreds or thousands of workers being paid to do nothing until it comes back. These problems have been around for a long time. Lately it has been marketed as "the cloud" as if is something new and the old problems don't apply. I think that is dishonest. It's not new and the problems still exist. For small companies without sensitive data I can see it working.

CharlieSpencer
CharlieSpencer

Where I work, we don't have much need or demand for off-site access, and the existing needs are filled by VPN and OWA. At home, ours is the only house left in Western Civ with a single non-mobile desktop computer; multiple access isn't an issue.

aidemzo_adanac
aidemzo_adanac

It took me a few months to get used to but now, for my work anyway, I couldn't dream up a better way of managing all my tasks, phone calls, email, texts, CRM, sales and shipping processes, tech support follow ups, documentation etc. Just using my phone I can do anything I would be able to do with my desktop, again for work purposes only. I still need and use a powerhouse desktop at home for A/V editing, sound engineering etc. But that's MY toy, for work the cloud is simply freakin' amazing!

aidemzo_adanac
aidemzo_adanac

Just because they have't got a forklift, doesn't mean they want you around! ;)

Gisabun
Gisabun

SSDs have dropped enough in price now that you can pull out what's included and install what you want [well except for OS X legally!]. Chrome Os would be the last option I'd choose.

dave
dave

Google and most other cloud providers are US parent based. That means the US can make that company's subsiduary pull your data even if it resides in Canada, Europe or anywhere else for that matter and that could be accompanied by a gag order. This means that Google Canada if served with a letter (and a gag order) cannot tell a Canadian court or even Google US that a customer's data has been pulled. This is different than the MPAA and RIA going after your data to prove pirating. Google and others may not "use' your data per say but unless encrypted could read your data. Who's to say that some bored tech doesn't peruse files. Also which storage provide recently raised a stink about your data is not yours and that they would try to make money from your pictures, etc?

HAL 9000
HAL 9000

Where the Servers are located that hold this data. Just because you may live and access your Data in Canada by no means implies that it's stored in Canada or for that matter even on the American Continent. It could just as easily be in a Server Farm in China or India where the costs are way lower for the Cloud Provider. ;) Col

BdeJong
BdeJong

This is the idea of "network" computing, using the cloud (other peoples infrastructure) has nothing to do with that.

Tony Hopkinson
Tony Hopkinson

took me, to identify it and two trained elctricians to rectify. Some pratt used a 440v power cable for the warehouse neons to support the comms cable on part of the run. Every time the lights got turned on the terminal (in block mode) had a fit. :D Thin client might be a better description admittledly. Not sure how it would fair when you induced a cascade of 40 massive spikes in the utp cable though. :p

BdeJong
BdeJong

As in......... on the device and not in the cloud? how.... supprising..... There goes the "secure" part the OP was ranting about. At least the "legacy dumb terminals" left the data securely on the server only. O and by the way the big growth in applications is not in the cloud/web but on devices (locally). Google play installs most apps on the device so it seems Web applications (marketing terms suck) is Legacy from that perspective.

Tony Hopkinson
Tony Hopkinson

Radio connected dumb terminals was easily achcievable back in the day, there was just no need for it. Cloud is just dumb terminal or thin client rewritten with modern tech. It addresses issues on mobility (not an issue in the dumb terminal era : p ) and addresses exactly none of the the fundamental issues around near all of your data and functionality being held centrally by a third party. Two huge issues that were addressed by the PC, for sound business reasons, not technological ones. Could the mobility seemingly offered by the cloud outweigh the issues around centralisation for some? Absolutely. The marketing ploy, is trying to get people to discount them as a non-issue. Fish hook their customers with an investment it would be very difficult for an exec to write off. So most Cloud boys are pressing the greed button with cost savings, then while the poor gonk is thinking of their upcoming bonus and promotion, trapping their nads in a vice. You can fool some of the people all of the time...

CharlieSpencer
CharlieSpencer

and close friend who repeatedly told me, "I can't wait for the day when I can fire you!" It finally came, but only because the plant was closing anyway and we were all being let go, including him.

aidemzo_adanac
aidemzo_adanac

I've told more than one employer, sure I bitch and whine, sure I moan and groan, sure I ignore your policies, sure I work when I want to and don't follow your standard sales procedures but you sure do get a lot more sales from me than others .STFU and be happy I chose to work for you. I get an odd look and you can see their wheels turning and hear the cogs groaning as they think of a reply or wonder whether they should fire me and then just smile and say, yeah well piss off and I'll see you tomorrow.

aidemzo_adanac
aidemzo_adanac

Yes, you can upgrade most with SSD now but there is a major latency problem with larger SSD's. Latency can double or even triple with larger drives, which is why they are rarely used. If your issue is that users would tear down a company owned notebook and install a bigger SSD, you have problems WELL beyond the scope of users adding unwanted files. Many companies, for the last couple of decades, set forth and enforce company policies, it might be a good idea for your organization too. The relevant comment you added was "Chrome OS would be the last option I'd choose" Seeing as that fits the topic of discussion, can you share your reasons?

aidemzo_adanac
aidemzo_adanac

If not my extended medical plan does. I think they'd be scared to put me in front pf a psychiatrist, I would drive him insane. Shhh, I gotta go, they are looking.

CharlieSpencer
CharlieSpencer

Doesn't it cover psychiatric counseling? :D Of course, just because your paranoid doesn't mean they aren't really out to get you :D

aidemzo_adanac
aidemzo_adanac

It has occurred to me that when you go and eat at ANY restaurant or fast food outlet, someone in the back could purposely poison my food. People should take great care when eating out to ensure that they know exactly who is preparing their food. It wouldn't take much for one bored chef to put a few drops of somethin' somethin' in everyone's food and poison hundreds, if not thousands of people. I wouldn't trust the drive through, when you give your order through the speaker, you just don't know who is listening on the other end. If it was a chef out to poison someone and he mistook your voice for his enemy's, you would be killed. While I am on it, what about ordering pizza, I guess that's to be avoided too! Not only do they know what you eat and when but now they know where you LIVE TOO! If a pizza cook was PO'd at you, he could sell your home address to thieves he knows, and they could rob you while you were not home or even worse, invade your home while you sleep, putting your kids at risk too! Don't even get me started on cab drivers! The first thing THEY want to know is where I am going! It sends shivers down my spine to think that someone might know where I've been. I threw out an offer for free magazines from my ISP, as a valued customer, I could have a free Chatelaine subscription. What I didn't think of at the time was that the offer had my name and address on it! Now the G-Man, along with every dumpster diver in town, can get hold of my name and address too! If police wanted to find me, they'd just have to offer a bum a bag of pop bottles and he'd sell me out! What's funniest though is that the people who fear the Internet security are the same people who tear a customer file in half and throw it in the trash. They leave old data tapes and disks laying around or pinned to their office ceiling. They throw away personal info all the time, they leave tracks everywhere they go, but they fear that their country's government will spy in their data packets and arrest them while on vacation in Bangladesh. As for customer data security, I've seen some really tight networks, and then people at the same company just throwing printouts, with customer info on them, in the trash, not shredded. OMG, I'm gonna take my paranoia to my mountain base and hide out, WOLVERINES!!! Man, Americans are a paranoid lot! :D Watching Doomsday Preppers is always a good giggle though, *$'ing nutbags!

aidemzo_adanac
aidemzo_adanac

If a US ISP wants to track a US customer, the ISP will hand over personal details attached to the ISP. If the data is served via Canadian ISP, Google can share the IP address with US authorities but US authorities can't retrieve the user info from the Canadian ISP. Nor will the Canadian ISp provide user details in 99% of cases. They face far greater penalties for a breach of privacy than being sued by some disgruntled company in America. There will be exceptions where privacy laws can be thwarted, after much effort, such as a terrorist organization, etc. Where a different set of unified, cooperative laws are in place already to work around he privacy act. What you have to think of is, WHAT THE HELL IS YOUR COMPANY STORING THAT WOULD WARRANT US AUTHORITIES GAINING THAT KIND OF ACCESS TO PERSONAL, INFORMATION, ESPECIALLY FROM A CANADIAN ??? My quotes to my customers, invoices, product info, sales pitch, power point presentation etc.? Who the hell cares? If there's nothing illegal on the server, why would there be any concerns at all? [i]"Who's to say that some bored tech doesn't peruse files.[/i] Who CARES if some bored tech peruses my files? I sure as hell don't. Maybe he'll be enticed by what he sees and become a customer. There are no pictures of me running around in the nude, no sex tapes, no secret missions, no video of me committing crimes, WHAT is the fear? People have been tapping phones forever, as you all know that's where phreaking really began. I had a party line when I was younger, you could pick up the phone and listen to conversations all the time. Who cares? It was boring as hell after the first exciting minute. You quickly realized you didn't want to hear what people were saying more than they'd just get off the phone so you could use it. The point is, just because there have been cases in the news where people read about the horrific potential of a company to acquire and share data, the actual probability of it occurring is extremely slim to none. Unless in the most dire cases concerning life or death situations. Funny how these debates always originate from Americans though, once trained to be paranoid, always paranoid. Once trained to fear the world around them, ALWAYS in fear of the world around them, whether warranted or not.

aidemzo_adanac
aidemzo_adanac

We still use Gmail, Google Docs, SalesForce etc. These are all public domains from Google and affiliates. The point is the origin of my packets, I'm not using AT&T, who would sell you out for an expired bus transfer. My ISP wouldn' toffer up any info, ESPECIALLY to a US company like Google or even a US authority. You'd have to get the Supreme Court to see a reason (life or death) to order a release of identity. Even then it would not be a rapid or easy process after the many appeals he'd throw back at them. We actually have functional security, privacy and protection of personal information that is respected by our government, and to think all that is lost just 15 minutes south of home! Canada's government has been challenged on privacy rights many times, but RARELY do they buckle, they almost always stand in favour of protecting the citizen. It's much like US citizens protecting their gun ownership rights and how the government is challenged but always seems to cowtow to the right wing and protecting gun rights. It would take a LOT of action for those Constitutional Rights to be reconsidered. In Canada, the big itch is citizen's right to privacy. Major cases are tossed out all the time due to privacy issues. Police and other government authorities walk a very tight line regarding privacy, it makes most of their bogus cases much harder to prosecute with when privacy is in question, they lose those almost all the time.

HAL 9000
HAL 9000

And that is where you have no control over anything but the encryption that is applied to your data as it gets sent/accessed from it's store location maybe. Private Clouds are very different to Public Clouds and shouldn't be considered as the same thing. ;) Col

aidemzo_adanac
aidemzo_adanac

The company I work for now is also a Tier2 network provider, we don't sell internet services but do manage data plans. All our data is stored at a an old friend's data centre, a few blocks away. I have seen a few cases where companies store data in the US, it's usually a company with a US head office though. Even the ISP we use is not the mainstream Rogers/Telus broadband for home users idea. We have a local, independent ISP that offers managed services for our unified messaging system (reliability and QOS). Everything is stored locally, again just a few blocks down the road.

aflynnhpg
aflynnhpg

I think for individuals that find this choose to go with Google Enterprise as a solution for a small busineess this may actually be a better fit, but I can't see many of my customers making this work in a complex IT environment.