Making sense of cloud technology

What is “The Cloud”?

The cloud is a secure virtual technology and therefore does not require any hardware of your own to deliver a service. Cloud technology can deliver that service to you, without you having to install anything or have it on a server at your business. This is something that you can access remotely, or via the Internet through your web browser. Offsite, secure third party data centres manage all of your cloud data so that you can access it at your convenience.

Are You Using the Cloud Already?

Are you using Office 365? Evernote? Gmail? Amazon Music? A Kindle? Dropbox? These are all cloud services that securely store the data you access. All you have to do is log in to their servers to get what you need. If you use an Apple iPhone or iPad, then you’re familiar with the iCloud service, the cloud technology that allows you to sync and upload your photos and contacts, etc.

Why Use the Cloud?

The cloud is convenient for accessing and backing up data no matter where you go. With it, you can access servers anywhere, rather than just locally from your office. This allows you to perform your job duties at home and on the go! There is no need to carry around (and risk losing) USB drives with sensitive information on them. If you lose that USB drive, then your files are gone forever. If you back them up to the cloud or store them there, however, they remain securely stored and you can easily retrieve that data.

So, you can store and access files in the Cloud. You can use cloud-hosted applications, like Gmail and Google Docs. Finally, the cloud gives you access to your data anywhere with a network connection. This all sounds great, right? It is, but as with anything on the Internet, these services need to be used responsibly. Is your IT services provider helping to manage this?

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