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'Generation Cloud' is here

Image of 'Generation Cloud' infographic that shows cloud computing usage by British consumers.
Infographic of Britain's 'Generation Cloud' that highlights the 'fun facts' of cloud computing usage by British consumers. Image courtesy CloudTweaks.

Have you ever wondered how much Brits rely on cloud computing? Now you can get a good idea of the answer thanks to a new a social study called 'Generation Cloud'. The project was commissioned by Rackspace, a Texas, US, based IT company that offers data center services all over the world. They worked in association with the centre of Creative and Social Technology (CAST) at Goldsmiths, University of London, UK, and analyzed the 'connected' lives of everyday people to reveal what the British are hosting and sharing in clouds.

The study was quantitative research of 2,000 UK adults and their attitudes and behaviors towards cloud computing. A research team quite literally "lived in the cloud for two weeks," according to the Generation Cloud report. To summarize the most fun facts of their results, the researchers created an informative infographic (see right).

The infographic highlights the impressive figure that the total value of books, films and music stored online is worth £2.3 billion. Currently, 24% of Brits share this kind of media in clouds, which is worth £200 on average. Of the 2,000 survey respondents, about 12% are men and 9% are women. They use cloud services such as Dropbox, Flickr, MSN hotmail and Youtube. Interestingly or worryingly, 66% of these people use a cloud computing service without even realizing it.

About 12% of people store over 1,000 emails in providers such as Gmail, Hotmail and Yahoo mail. And 17% of the respondents use more than 500GB of data; 6% of these have so much storage, they don't even know how much they use.

But, what has the cloud got in store for 2020? 38% and 28% of respondents think respectively that CDs and DVDs will be collectors' items by 2020. In addition, they believe that 14% of people in the UK won't own physical books and 11% won't have a TV.

The Generation Cloud report concludes with suggestions of some best practices for consumers and businesses. For consumers, it's suggested that they ensure that the cloud provider they store their data with is doing well financially and are big enough to have a reputation to lose, so that when problems arise, they will make a genuine effort to fix things. If consumers have privacy concerns, they should encrypt their data before they store it on clouds.

For businesses, the research paper said, "don't just look at raw cost. Generally, best value solutions are superior to lowest cost." If businesses feel that their cloud is not secure, they should use a virtual private cloud, or a hybrid cloud solution. Finally, almost 70% of business respondents are worried about the privacy or security of information on cloud services. Therefore, more education on clouds still needs to be done.

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