Cloud computing: Privacy and trust up in the cloud
Fifteen years ago people carried their documents around on floppy discs, then many people switched to memory sticks, and now a few are turning to the cloud.
Cloud computing means the ability to access, change and interact with data on any platform with a net connection, including on smartphones.
These online services require no software purchase and installation and most run via a browser. Users can pick from the growing number of cloud-based offerings, such as Google Docs and Amazon's Elastic Compute Cloud (EC2).
Unlike Dropbox and Evernote, some services do not synchronise data to personal computers and are based solely in the cloud.
An internet connection failure, or infrastructure downtime, is enough to cut people off from their files on these systems.
Many students have become heavy users of the free collaborative online tools that are based in the cloud. This has prompted some colleges to go as far as banning cloud computing completely.