The Cloud Shift

Posted: September 26, 2015 in Technology

If you want to talk about one of the biggest buzz phrases in technology it would definitely be “the cloud.”  These days, most people seem to feel the term ‘cloud’ is a bit nebulous.  For a little bit of a history lesson, in the earlier days of the internet we typically would refer to the internet itself as “the cloud” due to the fact most people didn’t really know what was between their computer and the website they were trying to reach (nor did you really care as long as you were able to access what you wanted to).  In network diagrams you’ll even see the internet represented as a literal cloud.

Today when you hear “the cloud” it typically refers to a place to store and/or process information somewhere other than your personal computer.  The cloud has further been defined with the addition of “public cloud” or “private cloud.”  A public cloud would be a location that is used by more than one individual or company and is managed by a third party.   A private cloud is hosted by an independent business.  You could technically think of the collection of file servers or SharePoint sites within your company as a private cloud as it is hosted on equipment we own and is operated by your company’s IT department.

Often times I get asked, “Is it safe to store information on the internet/in the cloud?”  Many of the providers of cloud hosting utilize very sophisticated security measures and your data might be even safer in the cloud as compared to just sitting on your home computer.  That being said, utilizing a strong password or a long passphrase is critical to protecting your information.  Avoid putting information on the internet that contains credit card or social security numbers and any other personally identifiable information.  The cloud is great for backing up your digital photos, music, movies, and normal day to day documents and can also allow you to free up disk space on your personal computer.

Please remember, it is may be against your company’s policy to store any company information on one of the publicly available cloud providers such as DropBox, OneDrive, etc.  Cloud storage is a great way to keep backups of the files that are most important to you and free up space on your local computer.

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