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US-CERT Tips describe and offer advice about common security issues for non-technical computer users. Tips are restricted to a single topic, although complex issues may span multiple tips. Each tip builds upon the knowledge, both terminology and content, of those published prior to it.

Storm CloudsSo, who's up on this Data Cloud idea?

The concept isn't exactly inelegant. Basically, the idea is to help out both small and large businesses by creating centralized data centers to handle all your computing needs. Kind of a one-size-fits-all approach. And in this case, one size really could fit all.

The advantages? Well, there are a few.

Consider the following:

Small Businesses

These are actually served best by the cloud ideal. Through this approach, they avoid having to hire their own IT staff or engage costly consultants.

Regarding staff... Small businesses usually don't have enough to do to put an IT person to work full time. And the technical expertise a potential part-time/dual-focus employee may have will usually be so poor it becomes bad for business. This is why so many small organizations employ the "resident office hack" model—a person who does his or her normal job, but then dabbles in technology on the side. But these types of support staff know too little to be effective and just enough to be dangerous.

Regarding consultants... Low-level independent consultants are also often bad for business (though not always), mostly because there's no way to predetermine how qualified they are. They'll tell you they can do the job, but their methods are frequently undisciplined, and oftentimes there's no documentation or proper communication about what they did. So if the consultant leaves, the next one is left with no idea what's been done. For a small business owner, that can result in a huge debacle.

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