Cloud : Big Picture
We’re always wary of new technology, but what is the big picture of the Cloud . Usually, it requires that you learn a new skill and also take new risks. One such relatively new technology is the cloud, and recent hacks into famous celebrities and politician’s cloud accounts really make you think twice about getting into it.
The good news is, you’re not alone, it’s very difficult to understand what the cloud actually is, or even define it. Perhaps the easiest way to define it is noting that cloud computing is storing files in a location that isn’t your local hard drive. In this sense, you still own your files, they just aren’t on your computer or smartphone. The Australian Communications and Media Authority (ACMA) published a study recently that showed that out of the 55% of the population that had heard of cloud computing, only 26% knew they had actually used cloud computing. So what is this cloud concept anyway and why is Cloud the Big Picture?
How the Cloud Works
Basically, you’re uploading your files to a certain dedicated server, could be Google, Microsoft, Dropbox; there are just too many to list. First of all, you need Internet access to perform the uploading, your data is then encrypted by the service you’re using through their servers. Your data is then assigned a unique key that only accepts your credentials to decrypt and then stored in data centres.
What You Gain From Cloud Technology
Safety of your data
It is very easy to lose your data, sometimes your computer crashes or gets lost, along with every piece of data you had in it. By keeping sensitive data in the cloud, you can be guaranteed it stays safe because it provides a backup in case of any problems.
You might be asking yourself, what if cloud servers fail? Well, some companies such as Google provide what they call synchronous replication which is essentially a duplication of all your data. Big companies such as these can provide this assurance because they have multiple data centres. In case one data centre fails for whatever reason, the other, which already had a copy of your file, creates a duplicate onto another server. This way, your data is never lost.
Say, you were working at home on a presentation for the board of directors, you get to the office and realize you left your computer at home, and there’s no time to go back. You’re basically screwed unless you had stored the project in the cloud. This is probably one of the main reasons cloud services are becoming so popular.
Despite not having your laptop, files stored in the cloud can still be accessed wherever you go. Furthermore, the rise of portable devices such as tablets and smartphones has made the use of cloud services easier because even they can access the files in the cloud. You won’t miss an important meeting henceforth if you make use of the cloud.
Massive savings for your company
As your company grows or keeps providing a service, amounts of data pile up, and soon you will have to deal with terabytes of data. To keep up with these amounts of data, you may need to purchase new and advanced hardware which may be expensive. Furthermore, these new servers mean you will also need to find more space for them then provide them with power. Storage space and rising power costs increase your running costs and make it more expensive to run the business.
On the other hand, cloud technology takes the load off your hands and makes it someone else’s problem, cutting down on the money you would otherwise have to spend.
Cloud computing is especially important for companies that use specialized softwares which need software licenses. While some of these software usually allow installation in multiple terminals, there’s usually a limit, and you would have to buy several copies of the same software. With the use of cloud technology, it is now possible to buy a single license and users would log into the client computer for the software. This will save you lots of money in the long term.
What You Need To Know About Cloud Services
Nearly all cloud service providers offer you a taste of cloud computing by providing a small amount of space for free, Google Drive and Microsoft OneDrive have free 15GB storage while Dropbox only has 5GB. However, you’re probably going to need more to run your company, but you will have to pay. Luckily, you have the option to pay either monthly or annually, and select the amount of capacity you need. This allows you to pay only for what you need and nothing more.
Is anyone ever safe on the Internet these days really? I doubt it. Hackers are always seeking out a way to get to people’s stuff and unfortunately there’s no guarantee of safety. That being said, cloud technology is still pretty secure with only rare cases of hacking, and companies are always working on new ways to prevent this.
The only major factor that can affect this depends on your Internet connection. Cloud servers rarely break down. Better internet connectivity through LTE makes cloud technology even more effective because files can be accessed even more quickly. All-in-all, you can safely place your life’s work in the cloud.
How to Make Use of the Cloud
You will always be able to access your files through a web browser; just log in to your preferred cloud service and open or download the file you want. Microsoft, Google and Adobe Creative Cloud have even made it possible to edit some document formats online and saving the changes. This makes collaboration easier as colleagues can work on the same document even when they are not in the same location.
To get more access, you may need to download the cloud service’s app to your device. This is especially important for smartphones because they have smaller screens and mobile web browsers may not be as powerful. Once you have such an app, it is possible to view and edit the document online, or to just download it to your phone, tablet or computer.