“The Cloud” is one of those ominous words thrown around but not fully understand. Do I want to use the cloud? Will it benefit my business? What do I need to know about it? The cloud is a trendy tech term that leaves much to be discovered.
What exactly is the cloud?
One common misconception about the cloud is that data is just randomly floating about in the, well, clouds. The truth is that your data actually has a physical home.
The cloud is a network of servers housed in many different warehouses all over the world. The idea behind cloud computing is about storing and retrieving your data within your own piece of internet. You can access this data anywhere and from any device that has access to the internet. This allows access to much needed information even if the office is closed or employees are far away. You can also give access to other people so the information can be shared.
Some people think the concept of using the cloud is something you should be weary of. The chances are you are already using cloud computing without giving it much thought. If you use any type of social media, read emails on your phone, or stream movies to your phone or laptop you are using cloud computing. When you access something like Netflix, this is also a form of cloud computing. All the video for this service is actually stored on a computer somewhere else in the world and sent to your device in tiny pieces as you watch it. Netflix is able to remember what you watched, where you left off, and even if you are going to another device to watch there. Everything is all ready to go.
Being able to store much needed information without maxing out a device is another great perk. In the cloud you are able to store your entire photo library, movies, and any document you could imagine. This frees up so much space on your device.
Companies who offer cloud storage have huge warehouses dedicated to holding servers. The sole job is to send and receive data all day. Some warehouses can be upwards of 1 million square feet. These large locations like this are called server farms or ‘cloud campuses’. The US and UK are popular server farm locations, but the company could also have copies of your data stored elsewhere in the world. The reason for this is so that these companies can fulfill their guarantees, assuring you that your data is actually secure.
Is it safe?
At this point you may be wondering if you should use cloud storage or if your data is even secure. When you save a file to your PC you know that it lives on your hard drive and it is only stored on your computer unless you email a copy or save it to a USB or external hard drive. With the cloud everything is physically out of your hands. In many cases there are multiple copies stored as well. While it is easy to think that your data is just floating around out there for anyone to access the reality is your data is housed in warehouses that are away from most employees, and they are heavily guarded. On top of that the data is encrypted which makes hacking a very laborious task.
So, yes, your data is relatively safe with in the cloud. If you have sensitive data that you would like to keep private or extra safe then it is probably best to store that on a hard time that remains in your possession. Aside from that, using data storage is a great way to keep your device free of clutter and to access your information from multiple sources if need be.