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What is the Cloud?

07 March 2017   SofTech

Are You One of Those Techie Newbies Who Want to Know What the Cloud Is, but Are Afraid to Ask?

Well, join the club! There are many who have no idea what it is. We don’t want to be labeled as computer ignorant, so when the cloud is mentioned, we either ignore the reference or just nod knowingly as if we have known all along what it was. For all of you who are similarly technologically challenged, here is a brief discussion of what the cloud is all about.

To begin your cloud education, you might want to start with a simple explanation as put forth in the following video:

In a nutshell, the cloud is internet storage. The cloud is a network of computers (called servers) that store and save as many of your files as you want in a remote location on the internet. Then, you can access your stored files anytime and on any device you want, as long as you are connected to the internet. Examples of companies that offer cloud storage include iCloud, Google Drive, Amazon Web Services, Microsoft and Citrix. 

History of the Cloud

The era of the sixties birthed the concept of global network computing. In 1969, J.C.R. Licklider, an American computer scientist and computing pioneer, was first to envision a worldwide computer network. Also contributing to the future development of the cloud, John McCarthy, another computer scientist, conceived the idea of computer services being provided as a public utility. By 1999,  the way was paved for applications to be delivered through the internet. From 2002 on, Amazon, Google and Microsoft have been major players in cloud technology.

Benefits of Cloud Computing

  • Cost Efficiency, especially for businesses. Computing with the cloud is much less costly than using desktop software with licensing fees for multiple users.
  • Close to Unlimited Storage Capacity
  • Simpler to Back Up and Recover Lost Data
  • Ability to Access Your Stored Information Anytime and Anywhere: If you have an internet connection, you can get to your information from anywhere in the world.
  • Easy Startup: It takes only a few minutes to be up and running with the cloud.

Are There Disadvantages to Computing With the Cloud?

  • Security Issues: If you decide to use the cloud, you need to understand that all your information—sensitive or not, will be stored with a cloud service provider. To reduce the risk, do some research first to insure that you choose the safest, most reliable provider.Be aware that anything on the internet can be susceptible to attacks by hackers that can access your personal information.
  • Technical Dysfunction: Even the most reliable of service providers can experience system break down. The cloud, like other computer-based technologies, can have occasional outages that will keep you from being able to remotely access the data that you need.

Finally, according to PC Magazine, it should be noted that “there’s no central body governing the use of the cloud for storage and services.” The institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers is trying to change this. In the meantime, “cloud computing is a bit like the Wild West, where the rules are made up as you go and you hope for the best.” 

At Softech, we can help you explore all your storage options, including the Cloud, and help get you set up and running. We are your one-stop for technology help! Providing computers and technical services to the Prescott area since 1996. Contact us today and let us help make the digital age work for you!