It’s happened to the best of us. You’ve spent hours, days or even weeks, working on an important project, when all of a sudden your computer system suddenly shuts down, and you lose EVERYTHING.
Despite obsessively saving your document to your hard drive, the whole system has failed and now it’s gone without a trace. Luckily, something called The Cloud was created to avoid this exact situation.
Here are five facts about understanding the Cloud for the ultimate IT amateur.
1. What is the Cloud?
The Cloud may not be a physical hard drive that you manage, but it is also not the magical Cloud filled with all the secrets of the universe that you may be imagining either. It’s a network of servers, usually run by a corporation whom you pay a fee. Instead of storing information on your physical hard drive, it is stored on a company’s server, providing you access to it when you ask.
Company’s such as Apple, Dropbox and Google are well known for their Cloud systems, allowing you to access photos, videos and files across multiple devices. Adobe recently moved its services to the Cloud, no longer selling the Creative Suite in a box set. Now called “Adobe Creative Cloud”, you pay a fee and receive a subscription to the individual services that you need.
Ultimately, rather than traditionally storing your information and files on a physical hard drive, the data is now stored in a network of servers via the Cloud.
2. IS USING THE CLOUD SAFE?
When using a system such as The Cloud, you are not actually in control of your data. Therefore, there are certain risks involved. You need to remember when saving any confidential or personal information that it is being sent to several different networks.
Security is a common, and important, concern for customers when it comes to using the Cloud. Some companies are aware of this and are responding accordingly, with Google announcing that it would automatically encrypt data for paid users.
Encryption is a process used to protect your information in transit, using an algorithmic scheme to transform plain text information into a non-readable form called ciphertext.
To be able to prevent unauthorised parties accessing the data, the algorithm requires a “key” to access it. There are risks involved when using the Cloud, so it is important to read and be aware of the privacy policies of the company you’re using, and to trust that your data is in safe hands.
3. Where is the Cloud?
There is no one place where information from the Cloud is stored. The physical location of where data resides is referred to as data residency or data sovereignty and is usually determined by the geographical location where the data is located.
It is also important to be aware that privacy and data residency requirements vary by country. Businesses using the Cloud should consider the specific rules about what data can leave the country and what has to stay within its borders.
4. WHY SHOULD I USE THE CLOUD FOR MY BUSINESS?
Despite the risks involved with using the Cloud, there are many benefits, particularly for businesses.
Firstly, companies often make the move from using physical storage hardware to using the Cloud to cut financial costs. You only pay for what you use, and therefore, it is a cost-efficient storage system. The storage software is also regularly updated and always working on fixing any potential bugs or risks.
The Cloud is also more flexible and can be accessed universally. Employees can access and save information on multiple devices via the internet, allowing easy communication throughout the business.
One of the most beneficial reasons for using the Cloud is to prevent any disasters if your computer systems fail. With your data stored on the Cloud via several networks, there’s no need to worry about important work documents and files being accidentally deleted. You can log in on another device and access all your work.
5. Why should I use a professional IT company to manage the Cloud?
The idea of the Cloud can be daunting to some people, and particularly with the occurrence of celebrity scandals where hackers have leaked private photos via the Cloud (e.g. Jennifer Lawrence) these concerns are understandable. Whether your data is personal or business related, it is not for the whole world to see.
Using a professional IT company to manage your Cloud system is an excellent way to make sure that not only are you using the best system for your business and financial needs but also using it correctly to avoid any unauthorised access to your data.
AUS IT believes that the Cloud has the potential to transform everything in business, and can empower organisations to become more adaptive, agile and competitive. We can help you understand your options with the Cloud, including the cost efficiencies, functionality, scalability and payment options with a dedicated account manager and engineer.