Cloud Computing

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In the Cloud

“The cloud” is a trendy term that gets tossed around a lot, but many people aren’t really sure what it means. What exactly is the cloud? What does it mean to be “in the cloud”? How can the cloud benefit your business?

Although you may not realize it, if you are using any kind of online data drive or social media, you’re already using the cloud.

Here are the basics on what a “cloud” is and what it means to be “in the cloud”.

What Exactly is the Cloud?

The first thing you need to understand is that the cloud is not something physical. Simply put, it’s a network of servers, and each one has a unique purpose. Some servers utilize computing power in order to run applications or deliver a certain service.

Network servers are primarily responsible for storing vast amounts of data. For instance, when you take a selfie using your smartphone, the picture is stored on the internal memory drive on your phone. But, once you upload that pic to Instagram, you are literally uploading it to the cloud, or cyberspace.

To be clear, the “cloud” is essentially a network of servers. Some of which offer an online service such as Adobe Creative Cloud and others that let you access and store data, like Dropbox or Instagram. In fact, you’re probably already using the cloud on a daily basis. Do you use iCloud, SkyDrive, Evernote, or Google Drive? If you are, you’re using the cloud. Any time you’re storing data without using the internal memory on your phone, you are storing data on the cloud.

Key Benefits of Working with the Cloud

The reasons why most businesses make the decision to employ the cloud are often financially motivated. In the recent past, businesses would have to purchase their own hardware equipment, which over time eventually depreciated. But today, thanks to the cloud, businesses only have to pay for what they actually use. This innovative model facilitates scaling up or down very quickly.

Before, people would run programs or applications from downloaded software through a physical server or computer in their building. However, the cloud lets people access those same applications via the Internet today.

Working with the cloud lets businesses be more cost-effective, flexible, and efficient. If a business needs to quickly access more resources, it can do so by simply accessing the cloud. On the other hand, if it needs to decrease resources or downscale in any way, it can easily do that as well. Because of the ease of scalability, the cloud’s flexibility or elasticity is frequently compared to a rubber band.

The Size of a Cloud

No one really knows how much space is actually provided by cloud-based companies like Google, Facebook, Instagram, or Amazon. But, it’s said that the cloud can store approximately 1 exabyte of storage. An exabyte can hold about the same amount of information as 4.2 million hard drives. In other words, more space than you can comprehend or likely ever need.

Is the Cloud Secure?

The cloud is ideal for storing non-sensitive data like to-do lists from platforms such as Evernote. But, most people are understandably concerned about storing personal sensitive information somewhere off in cyberspace in a “cloud”. A few companies, such as Google, respond to people’s worries by automatically encrypting sensitive data for those users who are willing to pay for cloud storage.

The cloud and the services it offers for both individuals and businesses is the innovative and eco-friendly wave of the future.

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