You have heard of the terms The Cloud, Cloud Computing, Cloud Storage, Cloud Hosting, etc. It appears that the skies have become very busy. For some, the concept is confusing. Questions like “Is the data really in the air?”, “Who manages the Cloud?”, and “Is it safe to host my website or computer programs in the Cloud?”
The Cloud is a marketing term. In truth, everything stored on the Cloud is actually stored in a computer, server, or device somewhere in the world. At the end of the connection, there is a machine that stores your data so, no, it is not in the air.
In the old days, companies had their own servers where they stored their programs, information, customers’ data, and even their website. This was very costly and these servers required lots of maintenance and on-going updates. Nowadays, anyone can be on the Cloud.
If you have a website and host it with a company like GoDaddy, you are using the Cloud. If you use online programs like QuickBooks Online, here again you are on the Cloud.
The biggest change in Cloud Computing these past few years that now a lot of people (regular folks and companies) are storing their software program and their data on the Cloud. What is great about this is that, if you need to change your computer, you loose nothing. All you need is a new PC with Internet access and you are back to using your programs and retrieving your data. In addition, if you use a program like Microsoft Word online version, they continue with the updates without you having to do any work. It is part of the monthly fee you pay to use their program. Most of those companies also have great backup programs should something happen to their servers, they have multiple copies saved in various parts of the world. They call those data centers.
The disadvantage is that you do need to have Internet access. Sometimes, it may be slower than having a desktop version. You often have to pay an on-going fee for the use of the service. You have to debate the difference between paying more upfront or a little bit each month but forever. In truth, all software are moving to the Cloud and it is a matter of time before you are not able to download a program from a CD or a link.
In terms of security, we think that it is safer on the Cloud. Unless you own a large company with a big security budget, you are better off using a company that handles the security for you. As mentioned earlier, most have backups so no data will never be lost. They upgrade their system frequently based on newest Internet threats. They manage the servers and do many other things behind the scene.
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