what is it?
Basically it’s a hardrive in the sky. Rather then storing everything on your computer or local server , it can be stored remotely. Think of your house and the garden shed. If you have a parasol, you don’t want to keep it in your kitchen. You may only use 2 or 3 times a year, but you still need to keep it, so you put it in your shed. This is the same with the cloud. You may have hundreds of documents, you might not need them every day so you store them in your cloud. This frees up your computer and keeps it clutter free, but its still easy to find and access.
Who really benefits?
Everyone!! The last paragraph was an example of how an everyday user can benefit but how about we look at a business. There are a number of reasons why it’s of great benefit for a business
Expense: There are tonnes of cloud software applications out there. Most of these you pay for as you use. It turns Capital Expenditure into Operational Expenditure. So instead of buying a stocktake software program that may cost 3 or 400€, you pay as you use at a fraction of the price.
Security: Nothing needs to be stored on local servers or computers. Nobody can physically steel your data. All data is stored centrally, so things are a lot less likely to go missing.
Productivity: Multiple users can use a cloud at the same time. An example would be a shop with departments. One person is looking after fruit, another veg. Instead of the fruit guy having to save the work and email it or copy with a flash drive. The 2 can work at the same time. This saves man hours and means extra productivity.
How do I get a Cloud?
There are lots of websites offering small free clouds
Apple iCloud, Google Cloud
These are extremely easy to use, and larger storage is quite cheap.
Social Media could be considered a form of Cloud. We all store our photographs on facebook. How many people have you heard of that broke their laptop but their pictures were saved because it was on facebook. This is a prime example of how effective a cloud can be.
What are the negatives?
Like most things the clouds aren’t exactly environmentally friendly. These are huge servers which need to be constantly cooled and powered. Personally I don’t see this as a problem but with everybody trying to go “greener”, sustainability could be hampered. This is why it’s so hard for start ups to get a foot on the ladder. We know that Apple and Microsoft are multi billion dollar companies and they have the money to keep their servers running. Smaller companies will find it a lot harder to gain thrust. Also you are technically at the mercy of the company you subscribe to. If you have 100gb of cloud data and its costing €40 per month. There’s nothing to technically stop them from upping their prices. They have your data, you may have to pay a lot to get it back, blackmail in a way