Does the concept of cloud computing make you feel like your head is in - well - the clouds? Here is what the cloud phenomenon really means to you. By Jennifer Blanche
Photo by BasicGov
Nowadays, software, firmware and even hardware almost seem like dirty words. They are expensive, cumbersome, memory hungry and often culprits of compromising speed. For years, the convenience of cloud computing has slowly been edging its way toward everyday use both in the business and consumer arenas. It seems that the days of constant cloud computing have arrived, however there are some concerns and questions about what cloud computing really means to you.
Cloud computing is affecting the way you do business, listen to music, sort your personal finances, create art/photography, educate others/yourself and so much more. Weighing the pros and cons of the different applications and even bridges to cloud services will enable you to pinpoint advantageous uses. This will also alleviate any potential fear or trepidation that originally hindered cloud concepts and technology. Obviously, like most new technology, being put into immediate existence before its perfection or near perfection can and has been detrimental to the original idea. Look at the pilot program of the electric car in the 1970’s. It failed miserably. However, today the electric car is more a reality than ever before.
Cloud computing has experienced a similar transformation. Now that the cloud has been vamped and re-vamped it seems to be moving the world into a sort of Techno-Industrial Revolution. This change is similar and different than the original Industrial Revolution when machinery began taking the place of humans but made everyday life more efficient. It differs inasmuch that more humans are becoming essential to cloud services therefore spawning a whole new industry of potential employment. However, let us look at the uses of cloud computing on your end.
This is the big question when choosing to hand over all your personal data to a cloud service. In the past it was a valid question but looking at how it applies to today’s technology may alleviate such a concern.
Hiring and maintaining an IT staff can be an unnecessary financial strain on a company. Cloud services train and screen all their employees rather than simply looking at a resume, making a few calls and hiring an under-qualified IT person. In addition, cloud services no longer limit their security by using only a handful of servers from one location. Most cloud companies employ multiple server sites, virtually eliminating the chance of losing data as information is saved many times over in a variety of locations. Therefore, cloud services are probably more secure than on-site servers. Not convinced? Even the U.S. Department of Energy is looking into a ‘cloud first’ (first choice) application system for storage and usage. This is a huge sign that even the federal government is becoming more comfortable with cloud security.
Cloud computing allows you to limit the amount of hardware and software that you would have to purchase and instead utilize someone else’s. It is a less complicated, less expensive method than downloading software, creating data, storing data and maintaining upkeep. However, cloud computing requires an Internet connection. Therefore if you decide to take a trip on a plane or go to a location that may not have Wi-Fi access you will be unable to enter your cloud. Whereas, personal hardware with all your downloaded information is always accessible.
Cloud services may be beginning the process of working out a hybrid application that could offer a temporary download of needed information. This type of feature will automatically kick in when you go into a dead zone giving you the ability to continue working on a project without being shut down.
When your data is accessed through servers that may be many miles away, there is the possibility of compromised quality. This can affect anything from the specific clarity of an image to an interrupted otherwise seamless audio output.
Even though cloud service offers multiple backup it is still recommended to backup pertinent information on your computer memory.
Keep an eye out for the following cloud terms being thrown around:
going to the cloud
using the cloud
in the cloud
cloud based services
Saas (software as a service) Paas (platform as a service) these are not used as much anymore
cloud based monitoring services
cloud based people
people in the cloud
Mail: Yahoo and Google
Snapfish and Shutterfly
Virtual Voice Mail
The cloud may seem confusing right now, but it seems like the system is here for the long haul. Its convenience and security outweigh many antiquated technological uses. As it continues to improve it will enable the world to work at even more speed and efficiency than currently available.