What is Cloud Computing?

Many students, professionals, and regular individuals may wonder, exactly, what is cloud computing. Cloud computing has become an integral technology used in many different areas of people’s lives. The following is an overview covering what exactly cloud computing is and why it is rapidly becoming essential.

Cloud Computing Basics

Cloud computing is the process of placing and keeping files and data in a digital storage space called the cloud. It is a newer method of digital storage that does not rely on keeping data stored on local drives. Instead, content is kept and backed up on a network of servers in remote locations. The cloud can then be accessed from any connected, authorized device or user. Data and files can be uploaded or downloaded at will. Cloud computing interacts with other types of technology, including desktop software, web applications, mobile devices, wearable technology and more. There are two major types of cloud computing, which will be discussed in detail over the following two sections.

Cloud File Storage

Cloud file storage is the first type of cloud computing that many individuals and businesses use every day. It allows businesses and individual users to store files, such as documents, music, videos and more. Almost all major stores that sell digital content, such as Amazon, Google, and Apple, keep a user’s purchased content in the cloud so it can be redownloaded and accessed from anywhere. Many businesses have started keeping their files and docs in cloud storage systems so they can easily be located, collaborated on, organized and backed up. This prevents the loss of important files in the case of a disaster, such as a fire.

Cloud Software

The other type of cloud computing involves cloud-based software programs. More and more major software companies have begun offering cloud versions of their software. This software is often purchased on a subscription basis, which is called SaaS (software as a service). The program can be downloaded onto a local device and updated regularly like traditional desktop software, although data and files are stored securely in the cloud. Major programs already being offered from the cloud include Microsoft Office, the Adobe Creative Suite, Intuit’s QuickBooks and more.

The Benefits Of Cloud Computing

Cloud computing offers numerous benefits for all types of people. Instead of buying a software program straight up and then having to upgrade in a few years, a cloud subscription always provides users access to the most up to date version of the program. Users do not have to worry about losing their data due to a system failure or other disaster, as their files and content are stored remotely. Businesses heavily use cloud technology so multiple employees can access and collaborate on the same file in real time, drastically increasing productivity. IBM points out that cloud services are scalable based on an organization’s needs and are cost effective as well. Cloud data collection is becoming increasingly important for healthcare professionals, who use wearable devices such as pacemakers and monitors to gather data on their patients’ vitals. There are also careers available in designing and maintaining cloud systems for individuals who are so inclined.

Nearly everyone in the modern world uses cloud technology to some extent. That heavy and increasing usage is creating significant amounts of data to be managed and, in certain cases, analyzed. Cloud computing is undoubtedly the way of the future for anyone who works or wants to work in data.