With all of the hoopla over Dropbox, the reinvention of SkyDrive and the release of Google Drive, it would be easy to envision millions of people, all over the world, happily installing, accessing and using the cloud, in one or more forms.
Except for the unfortunate and frequently overlooked fact that millions of the people who could most benefit from the cloud can’t adequately use it. These same people also happen to be people who you’d think would be among the most likely to pay for additional space and upgrades. I’m talking about the big chunk of corporate America whose IT departments block access to the cloud.
People who try to visit Dropbox and end up here:
SkyDrive? Box? SugarSync? Same thing.
Google Drive? Yep, except it’s even worse. The only way to block Google Drive is to also block Google Docs.
So not only can folks not access Google Drive, they can’t access anything they already had in Google Docs.
I don’t use any of the cloud services in connection with my day job (not because I am afraid of them or don’t think they are useful, but because my IT department tells me not to), and wouldn’t even if my IT department trusted me enough not to block them. And while it would be nice to be able to move non-work stuff around via the cloud, it’s not that hard to do it via my laptop.
But I see this as a huge issue for the cloud providers. No matter how badly someone may want to use one or more of the services, many people- and many potential paying customers- have that choice made for them. I’m sure there’s money in personal and small business use, but there’s almost certainly bigger money up and down the halls of corporate America. None of us who are old enough to read this awesome post are going to live long enough to see corporate America embrace the cloud (at least not the professional services part of corporate America), so the best chance the cloud has to penetrate that market is the iPhone route. Corporate IT departments ignored iPhones for a while, then tolerated them and ultimately were forced by user demand to embrace them.
There is another issue for both the cloud providers and their users. Not only is access to the cloud blocked, but media served from the cloud is often also blocked. Take for example the photo I posted from SkyDrive in my recent post.
The cloud is looking for a way in, but, at least for now, it’s been cut off at the pass. Or the firewall.