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What the Heck is the Cloud?

Ah, the elusive cloud. What is it? Is it a physical space? Is it just part of the “series of tubes” that is the internet? Friendly PC is here to clear some things up, with a simple explanation of what exactly the cloud is. First, 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.

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

Before this crazy thing called the cloud came along, we relied solely on our hard drives or external storage devices (like disks or external hard drives) to store everything. A hard drive is easy to understand because it is a physical part of the computer, or piece of technology right in front of you. It’s a simple idea to know that everything you’re storing is in that little piece of technology in your physical possession.

We’ve become data hoarders, and files have grown to sizes that normal hard drives can’t store without overload. So, now we pay companies like Google or Apple to store our data for us on their servers. Our data is stored remotely, and we are granted access to it from anywhere at anytime (as long as we have the all mighty internet available).

The cloud is still a physical place -a large company server -it’s just not right in front of you.

“When you store something ‘in the cloud,’ you’re actually storing it in a very physical space. That file slides across the wire and then lives on a physical server—usually more than one—in some far flung place. And depending on which cloud storage service you use, that file is now in the possession of a giant corporation to whom you probably pay a monthly fee. Anybody who’s ever used Dropbox knows that this makes it incredibly convenient to access files or to share files from any computer with an internet connection.” –

While the convenience 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 several 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, but it is important to understand the difference between control on your own storage devices, vs cloud storage.

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. Here’s why you should care…

Well, there are actually several reasons you should care, but we have found 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. It’s a beautiful thing, the cloud.