Before falling for marketing syrup regarding The Cloud, be sure to recollect the early days of smartphone data charges

If you are a manager whose due diligence regarding the procurement of IT infrastructure amounts to “It’s cool and it’s convenient and we’re sure to use it all the time,” don’t be surprised down the road when you receive a pink slip.

There was a time when the server industry presented itself to consumers as boring but reliable. Now it’s more about vendors competing to appear most like a Times Square spectacle, as though “five nines” has mutated into a table of three-card monte.

There was also a time when consumers of computer & networking hardware laughed at the idea of returning to an IT paradigm based around big servers offering connections to to dumb terminals. Indeed, during the BBS heyday known as the 1980s, sysops and the users of their dial-up systems tended to consider any pitch regarding terminal-based computer networking as a thin-client grift designed to wrest control of their data from their newfangled hard drives.

2017 is, of course, a different time, a time of increasing grifter heyday. Systems administrators, web/app developers and users alike are far less likely now to be savvy about the dangers of trusting third parties with their day-to-day needs for data storage and processing. Server manufacturers understand as much, and they also understand that taking advantage of the relatively ignorant masses who have flooded online during the past two decades might lead to increased profit. All they needed during the early part of this century was a clever-sounding name for their tired old server marketspace.

There happened to be a diagram all ready to appropriate as both symbol and denotation for their rejuvenated industry. For a long time, collaborators standing in front of whiteboards and sales professionals making presentations to prospective clients tried to depict networks in general and the internet in particular as looking like a cloud (the idea being that computer networking takes place within an ethereal realm).

Now that's a handsome cloud

Now server vendors are implying by way of slick marketing rhetoric that the entire internet has become their exclusive vendor domain, so don’t be a sucker. Minimize the amount that your employer uses The Cloud, and thereby minimize bottom line costs in the same way you do by limiting the amount of personal time you spend online with your relatively dumb terminal known as a smartphone.