Cloud Computing: Why Store Your Data in the Cloud?

Today, everyone is abuzz about the computing and data storage capabilities of “the cloud.” You might be wondering if you should store your data in this cloud as well. Real clouds are not very stable, so maybe a data cloud will behave the same way. Nothing could be further from the truth. Online data storage in the cloud is creating a revolution in the way we use computers. You should definitely consider this technology for your computing needs.

Defining Cloud Computing

We typically think that a computer runs software on a local processor and stores data in a local hard drive. This typical configuration is undergoing a radical change. The real computing power is being transferred to a large network of remote servers. More and more data is being stored in this way. The actual physical device in front of the user is a mere interface for receiving input and displaying output. All of the real computing is done on these remote servers in distant locations. This vast network of servers has come to be know as “the cloud.” Cloud computing refers to a system where most of the computer processing and data storage is accomplished on a remote server that can be accessed by many terminals.

How Cloud Computing Works

In a cloud computing system, the application runs on a terminal which serves as an interface between the user and the remote server. This application connects the user with the server where all the work is done. The results are then displayed by the application on the terminal. Often, the front end application is run on a Web browser, but this application can also be an independent piece of software. For example, consider a cloud computing application of contact management software. The user can install the software onto his computer. From the perspective of the user, it appears as if everything happens on the local device. In reality, the software and the data are stored somewhere far away. The local machine is a terminal that is merely running an interface with the remote server.

Pros and Cons of Cloud Computing

Significant advantages can be derived from cloud computing. Storing data online means that it can be accessed by any terminal. A user's data is always available on the remote server. It is not locked away in a hard driver under a desk in the office. The data can be accessed by any computer or mobile device that has an Internet connection. There is also significant cost savings involved in cloud computing. A company no longer needs to maintain its own servers. Instead, it can purchase an online storage service. The storage service is often significantly less expensive than the cost of maintaining servers. Large corporations can benefit from this savings. Small businesses will also benefit because they can now afford more advanced computing solutions without making the capital investment in their own servers. Cloud computing can provide great benefits for many businesses.

There are also some potential disadvantages to cloud computing. Security and privacy are two of the most common concerns. Given the almost constant stream of data flowing back and forth between the local terminal and the remotes servers, people wonder if this does not engender a security risk. Can the companies that maintain the remote servers really keep all this data private and secure? Further, there are some concerns about the cost of these cloud computing services. They require monthly fees that may add up over the long term. These issues should be considered by anyone looking into a cloud computing solution.

The Future

Cloud computing is certainly the wave of the future. This new way of configuring computing resources and storing data is growing more popular as its efficiencies and advantages become clear. Many observers think that the risks to security and privacy are minimal and temporary. Good solutions to these problems will emerge. It is clear that more and more businesses going to take advantage of the cloud.

 

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