6 Things To Learn Before Using 'The Cloud'


1. You’ve Probably Already Used It

If you’ve ever used a web-based email client, or emailed yourself a file to save it for later, you’ve used the cloud. You may have used it even before the term “the Cloud” became in vogue. Essentially, the Cloud refers to the organization of computing as a service or utility, in which users access online resources from an internet-capable device. The files and software traditionally stored on a computer’s hard drive are stored in the cloud, and accessed via the internet.

The cloud makes things easier for computer users by increasing access and reliability. Conveniently, the Cloud makes it possible for users to get to their information from multiple devices — laptops, tablets, smart phones and more.

SEE ALSO: Is Cloud Computing Secure?

2. The Cloud Increases Efficiency

Computer crash? No worries, the files are still online. Forgot your laptop at home? That’s fine. In the cloud, files and software are stored online. Most web-capable devices will provide you access to your applications, and other data stored in the Cloud. For businesses, Cloud networking simultaneously increases a network’s peak load capacity while lowering costs, replacing a wastefully large network with a scalable one that can handle any spikes in activity. Additionally, it eases the burden of updating software, because the software is accessed from the Cloud, rather than living in multiple copies across each device.

3. There’s More Than One “Cloud”

“The Cloud” refers most generally to a concept and methodology; it is a metaphor for the Internet and the underlying infrastructure that supports it. Thus, users may access the Cloud in countless ways depending on their needs. Apple runs its own “iCloud,” in which users can sync their music, photos and more across multiple Apple devices. Google and Amazon also offer cloud services, and businesses or individuals may also set up their own private cloud services; these private clouds offer increased security. Anything that is stored on a remote hard drive and accessed via the internet can be understood as a part of the Cloud.

4. The Cloud Is Older Than You Think

The actual term “the Cloud” arose in the telephone industry, who began reorganizing their networks to balance utilization in the 1990s, but the actual concept of cloud computing has been around since the 1960s,when computer scientist John McCarthy described the basic notion of internet as a utility. The idiom “the Cloud” came to prominence in the mid-2000s, after Amazon, Google and others began launching cloud services.

5. Some Parts Of The Cloud Are Free; Others Are Paid For

Google docs, web-based email and other consumer applications are free. Some services, like Dropbox, offer free storage to a point, but charge for increased capacity. The economics of the Cloud reflect the scalability that makes it so attractive; users may pay a subscription fee, or make utility payments per usage. We are still figuring these things out.

6. The Cloud Is The Future ... And It’s Just Beginning

Google’s Chromebook, a personal computer that utilizes Google Chrome as its operating system, hints at the future: Devices whose primary function becomes access to the cloud, with files, software, and even operating systems hosted on the cloud, but running on the device.Already, over a third of large businesses and higher educators use cloud services, with more adopting every year. As bandwidth, infrastructure and server space continue to grow, the only limit will be our collective imagination.

SEE ALSO: Which Cloud Service Is Right For Me?

Date of original publication:
Updated on: November 10, 2015

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