“The Cloud”, it sounds so dark and ominous. The truth is that the cloud is just a term to describe using computing power and storage where a third party maintains the hardware. How an individual or business uses the cloud is a different conversation. The cloud can be as simple as using Google Drive or Dropbox to share and store files. As far as data storage goes, the cloud also offers the ability to maintain larger scale backups without significant hardware investment.

On the other end of the spectrum is cloud computing. Now we are getting to the real usefulness of the cloud. Everyone uses apps and programs these days and almost all of them are cloud based. The days of buying software for $10,000 per license has faded to subscription based remotely accessed programs. These apps and programs are typically less expensive and utilizes an app or a web interface rather than software. Software takes up space and causes your computer to run slow since it is using your computers processors. A company that offers cloud based software utilizes state of the art high-speed servers. Their computing power is collective and far greater than most of our computing requirements should ever need. Ok, so how does running cloud based software benefit the world? The biggest attraction is lowered infrastructure cost. Because there are huge companies that operate the “cloud”, they are investing heavily into their infrastructure and leveraging an economy of scale that smaller companies can ever achieve. Make no mistake the cloud is not only for small companies. Large companies benefit from decreased infrastructure costs, space consumption, staffing and various other areas.

As a regular everyday user of cloud computing products, we benefit from greater cross platform functionality. This just means that you can use the same program on many different devices. Essentially an individual or company can access software within a browser on any type of device. Some companies with cloud-based software create an interface such as an app. An app is typically a user interface for the software. The bulk of the information and the software itself is located and running in the cloud to your device whether it be PC, MAC, Android or IOS. Given what we have discussed so far, the benefits are obvious. More and more companies and individuals are adapting to the changing world of “Cloud Computing”. Many are embracing it without even knowing it. It just means you are running software using the web on your laptop, tablet, phone or PC instead of downloading and running software directly on a device.

Trying to simplify the “Cloud” in summary is easy. You can use your browser to access software and that software is running on servers all over the globe. Because these servers are spanning around the globe there is redundancy and an increase in program speed (depending on connection speed).

So…. next time someone says, “It’s on the cloud”, you should have a grasp on what the cloud generally means and know that it is not a dark and ominous thunderstorm. You are using it today. You are in the eye of the storm and it is sunny and calm. The cloud is always around all of us and it is here to stay. So, enjoy the view and happy cloud computing.

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