Cloud computing is everywhere and it is being used by everyone. But do you really understand what it means? When do you encounter it? How can it benefit you and your business?
What is the Cloud?
The first thing you should know about the cloud is it's not the same as the Internet. The cloud uses the Internet and could not work without the Internet. The cloud is a network of servers (large computers that hold data and run programs) with different functions that provide services. These massive servers are in various locations and are owned by companies that store their servers in what is called a server farm. Services can include running programs & applications to deliver a service, others store data as a service.
Take Adobe as an example of applications running in the cloud. If you want the latest version of Creative Suite (Adobe PDF, Photoshop, Illustrator, InDesign, etc.) you can no longer purchase the box set to install on your PC. It is now called "Adobe Creative Cloud," you have to purchase a subscription and login online to use the software.
An example of services responsible for storing data is "Dropbox". Your files are stored on your PC or smartphone, but once you upload them to Dropbox, you are using cloud services to store your data.
You can access your media from anywhere. Since your media is not stored on your own device and is on the cloud, you can access is from multiple devices.
It can serve as a backup, so if your PC or a device crashes, you still have your files accessible by using another device or PC.
Less power used on your computer. Games you may play online, for example, is using the game's server, not your PC. Also, listening to music online takes up less hard-drive space, because you didn't store the music directly on your PC.
Characteristics of the Cloud
The cloud gives you storage for your files.
The cloud provides software to process your data (email, calendar, contact management, etc.)
The cloud is a backup for your files and those files are stored in a different physical location.
Files and data can be accessed by multiple users with the allowed permissions.
So just remember, "The Cloud" is a network of servers that provide an online service. Either to use a company's software application or to store and retrieve data.
See what I mean about being used by everyone? What cloud based programs do you use? Office 365, Facebook, Dropbox, Google Docs, Instagram, SalesForce, Evernote, Gmail, the list goes on and on!