What is the Cloud?

What is the Cloud?

What is Cloud Technology?

Cloud technology is data that is stored in off-site servers that can be accessed anywhere, at any time and on any compatible smart hardware. Some examples of services that use cloud technology include social media apps like Facebook, productivity tools like Gmail and even many modern Point of sale (POS) systems.

How Does the Cloud Work?

Instead of storing your data locally on a single piece of hardware, or on an on-site server, cloud technology does away with the physical limitations of data and saves important information off-site, instead. Large companies like Google, Intel and others have huge data centers that securely store the relevant account information of millions of people across a multitude of apps. 

Since the data is kept off-site, users need an internet connection to access their data. As long as this requirement is met, users can access the cloud (and their data) whenever they want and get the data they need anytime. 

What Cloud Technology is Not

Sadly, the cloud isn’t as mystical and fluffy as its name suggests. Don’t think of cloud tech as white puff balls that float lazily in the sky and magically transmit the data we need. Rather, you should envision a series of massive servers that compartmentalize and store data in a secure way. It’s like your computer’s hard drive, except larger…much larger. The truth is a little less whimsical, but no less amazing! 

How Do I Know if Something is Cloud-Based?

One of the easiest ways to tell if a service is cloud-based is to assess whether you can access your account anytime and from multiple devices, or whether you are tied to a single device. For example, with your social media and productivity apps, you can access your account from your computer, phone or tablet. You can even log into your account from a friend’s device. For your POS system, the same applies if it is cloud-based. If you are not tied to a single device and can log into your account across any supported smart device, then your POS is utilizing cloud technology. 

Essentially, cloud technology allows you to access the data, apps and features that are important to you wherever and whenever it is convenient. The work you do and progress you make, regardless of which device you use, is tied to your account and will be represented even if you log into a different device later. This is one of the great benefits of cloud tech.

Is Storing My Data on the Cloud Secure?

While it is true that you give up a level of control by storing your data off-site, it is in the best interest of cloud service providers and cloud data center owners to apply high levels of security so that customer data is never breached. To be honest, the security that protects your data off-site is most likely far superior than you’d be able to provide on your own. Cloud companies go out of their way to add security measures like including data encryption, advanced firewalls and intrusion detection. Cloud data centers deploy lots of physical security, too. Much like a bank vault, these servers have 24-hour monitoring, fingerprint locks, and armed guards.

Who Cares? How Does Cloud Tech Benefit Me?

A good question! Cloud technology might sound like something a bit sci-fi and unapplicable to the average person, but the truth is that you are probably benefitting from cloud tech without even realizing it. Let’s take a look at 5 ways that cloud technology may benefit you:

1. Convenience

We’ve already mentioned that social media, productivity tools and even POS systems all allow you to access your account and data anywhere, anytime and across a multitude of smart devices. This type of convenience if often taken for granted, but is now a staple of modern life. Can you imagine if every time you wanted to access a document or share progress with colleagues, you had to bring the same device along? You’d need to carry your heavy work laptop everywhere and your phone would be a lot less useful. 

2. No Hardware Hassle

If you break a piece of hardware, you don’t lose your account. Instead, you can just log in on another device and continue where you left off from. This is also extremely important for businesses, who used to have to spend a lot of time fussing over clunky hardware and on-site servers. With the cloud, hardware will not cease your productivity, nor will is grind your business to a halt if it breaks down. 

3. New Features Over the Web

App updates can be downloaded with nothing more than the touch of a screen and yet they bring so many new features and quality of life improvements. Without the cloud, this would simply not be possible. To put it simply, the cloud lets your favorite apps, media and productivity tools get better over time without you having to spend anything or repair anything physically! 

4. Easy Setup

Download the software, make and account and bam! You’re in! Without the cloud, you’d be stuck making sure you had compatible hardware, ensuring it worked with the app you were trying to install and much more. But since all these apps and services are stored on the cloud, the hard work is taken care of by the cloud service provider and installation for you is a breeze.

5. Save Money

You don’t need powerful hardware, no upkeep of on-site data servers, no self-management of tedious software. Everything is done for you through the cloud and all you need to do is download an app and maybe pay a monthly subscription. The savings are huge when you think of the hardware costs, and even the possible cost of having an IT team to keep your business afloat if you were running your own in-house server. Perhaps the cloud is a little magical, after all!

No More Clouded Judgement

The cloud is one of the most amazing advances in technology we’ve seen in modern times. It provides unparallel convenience as well as allowing us to have access to amazing business services, apps and productivity tools right at our fingertips. The cloud removes hardware restrictions and lets us access our data anytime, anywhere, across a multitude of devices. This level of convenience and cost-savings, alone, should be enough to make you appreciate just how amazing cloud tech is!

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