The Cloud for Consumers

Cloudy…With a Chance of…Confusion?

Cloud computing is a popular phrase these days, and it can mean different things to people and businesses. Even if you aren’t running a big business, as a consumer you are likely using “The Cloud” in some capacity. Depending on the type of computer or mobile device you have, you may be using one or more of today’s popular services. These include Google (Drive, Gmail, Calendar, etc.), Office 365/OneDrive, iCloud, Dropbox, etc. Heck, you may be using several of them, and that’s ok!

The Cloud refers to the practice of centralizing computer application software and/or data file storage on a provider’s computers, rather than keeping these locally on your computer. Common functions on our computers and smartphones today, such as backing up pictures, maintaining a calendar, and even email, usually involve the Cloud in some way.

Why Did This Cloud Roll In?

Not long ago, it was common for one person to have just one main computer in his/her life. Today, in addition to a main computer at home or work, we may each have a smartphone or tablet. We expect all of these devices to provide us up-to-date access to our data.  Earlier generations of mobile devices required us to connect them via cables to our computers in order to synchronize them (remember the old PDA’s?!). Today, when our computer and mobile devices are set up correctly, cloud services store our email, contacts, calendars, documents, notes, pictures, etc. This way, it doesn’t matter which device we access them from; we can always expect them to be up-to-date. If our device is damaged, cloud services can ensure that we don’t lose our important information with it.  In addition, these services often provide sharing capability, allowing us to share and edit documents with others in real-time.

For a description of the differences between cloud storage and cloud backup, see my earlier blog post.

The Parting of the Clouds

So, in this case, the Clouds are not ominous! If you’d like to know more, and ensure that you’re using cloud services the right way for your situation and device(s), please reach out.