Introducing: The cloud.
You might be hearing about the cloud a lot lately but what is it exactly? What does it do? According to mashable, the cloud is a network of servers used to run applications and services, as well as store data.
You probably use the cloud every day without knowing it. Whenever you save a picture or document somewhere other than your phone or computer’s internal memory drive, you are uploading it to the cloud. Social media sites such as Facebook and Instagram use the cloud to store and share your pictures and words.
More recently there has been a shift away from buying software to subscription-based services. These services run on the cloud rather than on your computer. Companies are moving towards cloud-based applications and services because using the cloud means they don’t have to have their own servers, which are expensive and lose their value over time. The cloud also offers business greater flexibility. They can quickly and easily access more servers when their business grows and just as quickly and easily scale back and use fewer servers when necessary.
Although the basic premise of cloud computing dates back to the 1950s, it wasn’t until the 1990’s that increases in bandwidth allowed the cloud to really take off. The cloud-based Amazon Web Services launched in 2002. AWS is host to hundreds of thousands of sites and services, some of which you probably use every day.
The cloud network itself is huge, so huge no one is really sure how big it is — and it’s expanding everyday. As the number of Internet users, and the types of online services they use continues to grow, so to will the cloud.
Sounds great, right? Although the cloud is efficient and convenient for both businesses and web-users, it’s important to remember that is means storing personal information externally. Google has started offering encrypted cloud services for paid users to increase security. If you have privacy concerns, it may be best to store potentially sensitive information on your computer’s hard drive rather than in the cloud.
So in conclusion, the cloud is an ever-expanding network of servers used to store and information, as well as provide services many of use everyday. As long as we are mindful of what information upload into the cloud, it will continue to be a great resource.