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What the Heck is Cloud Computing?

*Last Updated: 01/11/2021

Ah, the elusive cloud. What is it?

Let’s start here. It has nothing to do with those fluffy white things in the sky, nor is it some invisible force floating around us.

As technology evolves and becomes more complicated, we often simplify so that we can talk about it without going into a monologue or using terms real-life users won’t understand.

“The cloud” was originally written in technical manuals as a method to signify the way data was exchanged between multiple computers was “unclear”, typically because the data was actually stored in pieces across lots of different systems. The term “cloud” is an analogy for the data users needed to simply be there, like the clouds are just in the sky to most of us.

The tech industry now uses the term “the cloud” or “cloud computing” to explain that your data is stored somewhere outside of your local computer, but can still be accessed easily through a web browser, application or device with an internet connection.

Before we dive further into the more technical aspects of cloud computing, let’s cover a couple of definitions that are vital in this conversation.

Hard Drive: a high-capacity, self-contained storage device containing a read-write mechanism plus one or more hard disks, inside a sealed unit.

Basically, a hard drive is a physical piece of equipment attached inside your computer which stores all of your information and the data for your computer to function as you expect.

Server: a computer or computer program that manages access to a centralized resource or service in a network.

Servers are large, high-powered computers that manage hundreds of thousands of commands and tasks simultaneously and provide less powerful machines access to stored information through an internet connection. Common types of servers are web, email, file transfer protocol and identity servers.

Before cloud computing came along, we relied only on local hard drives or external storage devices to store digital data. Since then, we’ve created new technologies with much larger requirements and files have grown to sizes that local hard drives can’t handle.

Today, we pay companies like Google or Apple to store our data for us on their servers. While the cloud is still a physical place – a massive collection of servers – it’s just not right in front of you.

While the convenience of cloud computing is unparalleled, the security and privacy factors have some folks worried.

Depending on what server you decide to store your data on, you may no longer own it or have the ability to keep it private. When data is uploaded to the cloud, you’ve lost sole control over that data. Because backing up data is an essential offering of cloud storage services like iCloud, Google Drive or Amazon CloudDrive, there are very likely copies of your data in several different locations. Just because you’ve gotten rid of, or made changes to your data, does not mean that all copies of that data have been updated or deleted.

The privacy and security issues surrounding the cloud don’t really carry much weight for the average Joe, however small businesses and corporations need to carefully consider when to use cloud computing solutions and what should be stored.

Cloud storage is just one part of cloud computing, another important ability the cloud gives us is called Cloud Care, and Friendly PC offers it as one of our services. Here’s why you should care…

Well, there are actually several reasons you should care, but we find the remote access aspect of Cloud Care to be the most beneficial to our customers. With remote access, we can actually connect with your computer remotely to troubleshoot, help with IT support, diagnose computer issues and often even fix the problem remotely. That means you don’t have to come to us, and we don’t have to bother you.