In a nutshell:
- Poor Security (password based hackable)
- High risk (your third-party data storage company could go out of business or change the rules at anytime for it's own benefit)
Thinking back to the various places that I have worked, cloud computing has been an issue since the 80's! So I wouldn't bet the [server] farm on anyone's 5-year plan. I see cloud computing as processor-centric and storage-centric.
In the last 30 years I think a lot of progress has been made in distributed computing. In the old days the commerical goals were to find ways to use many cheap processesors rather than a few really expensive ones. That worked really well, but it's all in-house for the most part. Renting out computing power has not caught on, although you can find instances of it. In contrast, energy advances have come a lot farther and you can sell energy back to the grid from your solar-powered house if you choose not to store it.
But the meat of the cloud is storage. That's where all data is kept. Informational data has value. Valuable information should be secured. Unfortunately, the best security you have is password protection. Now if you can I can write a hack program to find someone's password, imagine what the full force of any enterprise or government could accomplish. It's downright scary.
Is cloud computing worth storing a copy of boring data files like my Windows installation? Probably not. It would not be simple to recover Windows from the web, a DVD is a much better choice.
However, secondary essential software such Adobe, Quicken, Print drivers
, etc. are all fine for using the cloud as personal backups. Oh, but I can get all those now as downloads.
So what IS useful? Maybe my registred CD keys and things that are not life changing if someone on the street found them. Things like that I have found very useful to store on the web, because hard drives crash and you need to have backups (of the key values), although CD/DVD works for that too. That's not a lot of data.
If I wanted to maintain complete backups of my entire computer in the cloud, which is cheaper? Paying about $100 per year, or buying an external USB hard drive or even a home-office NAS? Hmmm, local storage wins. I can even unplug it and put it in my closet, safe or whatever.
Would I use the cloud for the convenience of automatic backups? One day, when it's reasonably secure, maybe.