The cloud is here! Rumbles on the internet say it’s the next best thing since, well, the internet. (How meta!) In fact, companies are moving so quickly with cloud-based developments you’re likely to get lost in its fluffy trail. The concept of cloud computing is as vast and nebulous as it sounds. By no means is this blog a comprehensive report, I just wanted to answer the question that everybody has been asking lately– what’s up with the cloud?
What is it?
Consider the cloud your virtual hard drive in the sky that contains absolutely all of the information you wish to share; centrally located data that is accessible via internet connection. Your computer, smartphone or tablet can connect to this cloud of computing power, where all your applications and files are housed. Confused? Ok, try to think of the cloud in a literal sense – a mass floating above you that can be filled with select information accessible to whoever, whenever. Imagine having all of your chosen information – and when I say all I mean all –available 24/7/365. Basically, we are no longer bound by location and hardware. Still confused? PCMag.com offers a pretty succinct definition, “In essence, personal cloud computing means having every piece of data you need for every aspect of your life at your fingertips and ready for use.”
Everybody loves the cloud!
All the big names, from Amazon to Apple to Google are on board, too. Chances are you’ve already been in the cloud and didn’t know it. Web-based file sharing services like Dropbox and SugarSync , that allow you to access and share information in your cloud, are gaining users at rapid speeds. In fact, Dropbox alone has 25 million users worldwide. These services are equipped to run across all the operating systems and mobile devices to ensure that you are never without access to your info. See, the cloud is kind of a big deal.
What about privacy?
But before we collectively burn our jump drives, there is the, uh, “cloudy” issue that we need to address called privacy. Having your personal cloud networked with the public will undoubtedly make a few people nervous. As the cloud continues to gain popularity I’m sure privacy settings and good old fashioned internet paranoia will increase. In the meantime, The Federal Trade Commission (FTC) is keeping a close eye on the cloud and continues to promise consumer security and privacy policies are valid concerns. Needless to say, discretion is advised when sharing files, cloud or no cloud.
From the looks of things, the cloud is shaping up to be a huge, innovative step in the right direction towards how we access and share information.