The Cloud… When we talk about the cloud, or cloud computing, we are not talking about the weather. While your text analysis in Dedoose is stored in the cloud, we promise it won’t get wet if it rains.
For those of you who think, ‘of course it won’t,’ I would like to turn your attention to a recent study conducted by Wakefield Research for Citrix that found that the 51% of Americans believe ‘stormy weather would interfere with their cloud computing.’ When asked ‘what is the cloud’ the majority of people in this study spoke of ‘something relating to the weather.’ And while 54% of people said that they did not use the cloud, it turned out that after explaining what it actually was, 95% actually did use it! So…clearly the cloud is confusing people.
So, cloud computing is what again? The term ‘the cloud’ can be loosely thought of as the Internet. Basically, if something is stored in the cloud, it means that it is not stored on your computer, but rather online.
Essentially – if you have used Gmail or Yahoo to access email or paid a bill online you have used something called a web application, which is stored in the cloud. If you cannot access your data, be it email, your bank statement, or your text analysis offline, then you are using a web app most likely stored in the cloud.
What does this mean for your text analysis? Dedoose is a web app based in the cloud. Using the cloud, Dedoose allows for geographically dispersed teams (or any teams for that matter) to work on any type of computer (yes we natively run on your Mac) and all browsers. You can access your project to excerpt, code or analyze your data from any Internet enabled computer, anytime and anywhere, even if goodness forbid, your computer gets stolen or crashes.
Because Dedoose is in the cloud, there is nothing for you to install (except perhaps a browser) and nothing for you to maintain. We are able to create new features, address technical issues, and push the upgrades out in real time. And because the cloud helps keep the cost of running Dedoose low we can pass these upgrades on at no additional cost to users.
But is my text analysis safe? When potential users hear that Dedoose is a web application based in the cloud, one of the biggest concerns we hear is about security. Is data safe in the cloud? Actually, we argue that your data is safer in the cloud than on your personal computer. Computers get stolen. They get viruses. They crash. In fact, it is estimated that approximately 140,000 computers crash each week in the United States. (Yikes!) Yet, when your data is stored in the cloud, your data is safe no matter what happens to your computer. You can access your text analysis in Dedoose from any Internet enabled computer, no matter where you are!
Of course, when you use the cloud (and you have to answer to an IRB) the security has to be top notch. In Dedoose, for example, your data is safe because our encryption is the cream of the crop. Your data is stored in a HIPPA compliant SAS 70 type II datacenter and utilizes SSL-EV and AES-256 encryption when you load your project. That means (in tech-speak) we meet the highest standards of United States National Security Administration. So, yes, when it comes to security your data is as safe as it can be when stored online. We have your back.
What if I need to access my text analysis offline? When using a web app, your data is stored in the cloud, and that means that your text analysis is only available to you if you are connected to the Internet. That’s why we are working on an offline version of Dedoose (for our users working remotely in the field or crunching data on airplanes). You can always export data to work with locally until we implement an offline version and something we are hoping to offer as soon as possible. Stay tuned!