The phenomenon of cloud computing has become a part of daily life across the globe. And while it is used by many people, few know what cloud computing is, how it affects them, the advantages and disadvantages and how it can spread cooperation between organizations and throughout the world.
So What Is Cloud Computing?
Simply put, the cloud allows for easier, less expensive, more protected, virtual storage and access to massive amounts of data at any time.
In the past, we lived in constant fear that should something ever happen to our computers or laptops, thousands of data information files would be lost forever. Now, through the use of cloud computing, your laptop could be run over by a truck (heaven forbid), and all your data files (such as photos, music, documents, etc.…) would be safely stored and accessible on the cloud.
Essentially the cloud is a virtualized service that is provided over the internet. The service that is provided is versatile and customized to the user and their needs.
The cloud has many uses but in the instance above, the cloud is used for storage, commonly called STaaS.
For example, if the laptop was to be run over by a truck, all your data would have been stored on the cloud and remained safe, unharmed and accessible through an internet connection.
Other utility services the cloud offers can include web apps or ‘Service as a Software (SaaS). Instead of paying for software, yearly updates, and a team of staffers, many people and companies have turned to cloud computing. The cloud stores and runs these same software applications for a quarter of the cost and offers technical support and updates without the headache of having everything in hard copies on site. To put it simply, instead of buying software programs, using large on-site data centers and having headaches over updates and costs, the cloud offers the opportunity to rent software and databases and manage the platforms for the software.
Pros and Cons to the Cloud
As with any new technological advancement, there are always pros and cons that need to be considered before jumping in headfirst. Here are some of the advantages to cloud computing:
- Decreased Expenses – Instead of purchasing servers for absolutely every different task necessary in your business, the cloud utilizes one master, offsite server that can do the job for all the required tasks. The pre-cloud era experienced much expense in just setting up network environments. One of the ongoing costs that are no longer necessary would be IT related management and maintenance. Your information and storage are maintained offsite by information technology teams.
- Accessibility – The idea here is that wherever the internet is accessible, the data can be accessed from there. Simple as that.
- Increase in Data Storage – Before, one would have to purchase multiple servers for data storage and then maintain and store them. With the cloud, storage is immensely increased, and it’s not necessary to personally maintain the storage process.
- Preconfigured Disaster Recovery – There are always threats to any server no matter where it is located. Virtual cloud computing comes with an automated disaster recovery plan, including several backup servers, that basically restores the system quickly and effectively in case of disaster.
With any advantage, there is always a disadvantage. Though these concerns are continuously being addressed, take care to protect yourself no matter what.
- Data Security – In the cloud, it’s not necessary to personally maintain and secure the data using several onsite servers, doing this is part of the cloud package. Cloud companies would be foolish not to go to great lengths to protect their client’s information and the good ones already are. Many have state-of-the-art technology to ensure your data is secure.
- Internet Access – Though it is an advantage to the cloud it can also be a disadvantage. If there is no access to the internet, there is no access to the data.
The Cloud Enables Collaboration
The ease and availability of cloud computing has made it a valuable asset in the cooperation and communication of businesses worldwide.
Through cloud computing and virtualization, businesses have collaborated on designs across the globe and work together to create worldwide business developments that are available on the cloud. Software programs can be seen by anyone within a company, and communication is broadened across continents, countries, and communities.
The term ‘business’ might be used loosely here since some of the major worldwide projects utilized through the cloud have not necessarily been for the benefit of anyone organization. The role of cloud computing within a community is an invaluable resource.
Connections in real-time through the cloud allow communities and organizations to rally others towards a cause for change. The cloud offers easy opportunities to share information and communicate across the globe for all sorts of community-minded projects.