Understanding The Cloud: The Basics of Cloud Computing

As people use computers for business, enjoyment, and communications, most of them do not understand exactly how the whole online computing thing works. The cloud is a good example. This is not an up-in-the-air mass of information like the name would imply. Cloud computing is, in essence, a new an different way to store and access data using the internet. It allows users to store more information than a typical computer hard drive can handle, and it makes sharing information with others easier.

The Cloud Is a Unique Way of Storing and Sharing Vast Amounts of Data

To understand cloud computing, a little history of computing is necessary. Before the advent of “the cloud,” people and companies stored all their data on-site using hard drives, file cabinets, floppy discs, etc. Companies would have large collections of data storage equipment overseen by whole teams of computer technicians dedicated to keeping the information safe and the equipment running.

This effort took a lot of space and was costly. If the computer system and data storage equipment malfunctioned or were compromised, all the data could be lost. Recovering all that data could be very time-consuming and expensive. Think of a person writing a book on their computer and losing it all when their computer crashed. People could back up information on floppy discs that required space to store, but that was inconvenient.

Then, someone built the cloud computing system as an improvement for the whole computing world and the data storage problem. In this system, there are special companies that have the equipment and space to collect and store vast amounts of data from multiple sources. This information is easily retrievable as needed by the people who own and store it on the cloud. If a computer crashes or a building burns down, the information is safely stored off-site.

An easy definition of cloud computing is that it is a practice where people use a network of remote servers, hosted by others, to manage, store, and process data rather than doing it all in-house on a personal computer.

The Cloud is Different in Some Significant Ways

  • It is managed for its customers saving them time and inconvenience concerning licensing, data loss, and rolling upgrades.
  • Customer data information is everywhere the internet is, so wherever a person is working with an internet connection and computing device, they can log in and access the data they need.
  • Passcodes and other security measures keep the system safe. This is a physical sharing space that keeps each user’s information private to them, a company, or an organization. Each customer chooses their level and type of security measures.

There are several types of cloud computing including the following.

  • A service of infrastructure that is a basic service giving customers access to raw computing or hardware for storing data.
  • SaaS, or software as a service, gives customers the use of a complete software suite that is hosted on other servers that the customer logs into to use.
  • PaaS, or platform as a service, allows another company’s servers and hardware to run the customers’ software that they develop with web-based tools. This software runs on another company’s server to provide shopping options, checkout, and so on to a website for a storefront.

Before getting heavily into cloud computing, a user can go online to learn all the basics, including the advantages and disadvantages of cloud computing. Are you comfortable giving all your information data to a third party to maintain over an internet connection? What are the costs? What are the safety measures in place?

There are careers available in cloud computing for those who get the training. People who just want to safely and productively use cloud computing for their personal or business needs can learn the basics by understanding different operating systems and basic networking. Learn enough about cloud computing to make the most of the service.