These days technology is on a fast track, especially the Internet. In the blink of an eye, everything changes and it’s often hard for the average person to keep up. New terms appear out of the blue, creating confusion and possibly stress for Internet users. The cloud is one such term, nebulous and unnerving to the uninformed. What is this “cloud” and why should someone use it?
The cloud or cloud computing may sound nebulous but is rooted in solid hardware. Companies who offer cloud computing run a network of servers. Some of these servers are for storage only while others specialize in running web-based applications. Web-based email offered by Gmail and Yahoo, and services like Google docs and Evernote are examples of web-based applications. To use the cloud, a person’s computer or mobile device connects with this network of servers through the Internet.
Cloud computing offers many benefits for both individuals and companies. Shouldering the burden of hardware, software, and storage capacity becomes the responsibility of the cloud’s network of servers, instead of individual computers. This reduces costs for people and companies. Since software and data are stored on the cloud network, if computer crashes occur, information isn’t lost and can be retrieved instantly. Plus, using the Internet for cloud computing means people and companies can access their information from any connected location or device, instead of being confined to a specific computer. This offers flexibility, portability, and opportunity for collaboration. People can work together on the same information from any location that connects to the Internet, whether that’s home, office, hotel, or Wi-Fi center.
The cloud does have a few drawbacks. If someone has a limited Internet bandwidth, use of the cloud may strain their limits. The quality of Internet connection will affect cloud computing, so if the connection is low speed or poor, access will be limited or applications won’t work properly. And in places where there is no Internet connection, the cloud will be inaccessible. Also, security and privacy concerns for the cloud are the same as for any Internet usage.
The average Internet user is constantly bombarded by new Internet tech and terms such as the cloud. While the cloud sounds a little ominous, this network of servers can be a big advantage for individuals and companies. The savings in storage space and hardware/software, plus the flexibility and portability make cloud computing a huge leap forward in today’s fast-paced world of computer technology.