PC Mag

I know that not everyone is a computer junky or software developer or hardware master. So I decided to find a post on something that can easily introduce one of the most frequently used technology terms today: cloud computing. So what is the cloud, really? What does it mean when we say cloud computing or cloud sharing? PC Magazine wrote a nice article in 2016 explaining these terms and how we have been using the cloud for a couple of decades now.

In short, the cloud itself is a storage area (at a remote location that is not our local device) in cyberspace where we place files, videos, and other information that we create, with the ability to access it from anywhere in the world. Google Drive, iCloud, and DropBox are some of the more popular cloud services used today.

Cloud computing is simply the global infrastructure side of things that allows companies to pool resources (servers and data centers) so we (the Internet users) can store files in one place and access them in another. This means that our laptops, smartphones, or other peripherals can work less like a standalone computer or device and instead, benefit from network access (WIFI, high-speed internet for example) which does the storing for you.

There are security and privacy concerns with relying on cloud technology for personal or business use. When you use the cloud, your files slide across the Internet wire and then live on a physical server–usually more than one since cloud computing pools resources–in some (or many) places. This means that your work is now in the hands of corporations who own the servers and data centers that allow this technology to work. Google Drive, iCloud, and Dropbox typically don’t charge for basic cloud storage. However, if you pay a membership fee to benefit from a corporation’s cloud computing power (say you need larger cloud storage capabilities), then your material is now in the hands of that corporation. And depending on that company’s terms of service, you may or may not own or control your data.

Let’s face it: the cloud is convenient. It has made life easier by allowing us to place material in cyberspace so we can access it from anywhere in the world. It is not without controversy and concerns. So the next time you upload something to Google Drive, iCloud, DropBox, or any other cloud service provider, remember that your information is no longer yours. If you’re willing to give up that power, then welcome to the world of cloud computing!

For more information visit PC Magazine’s What is Cloud Computing?

– Marianna
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