What is a cloud? In computing terms it’s not a fluffy white object in the sky, but a physical server used for storing and sharing data. Your information is stored on a remote database which is serviced and controlled, provided by cloud computing companies operating from data centres, the most well-known being the Apple iCloud. Clouds allow un-networked computers to communicate and share files without using the storage on your own hard drive. Clouds are accessed via the internet. A cloud works the same as you, storing your data on an internal or external hard drive or USB stick ; you can retrieve, amend and update it, but by using a cloud you are not filling your own hard drive space, allowing your PC to run more quickly.
Although cloud storage has only been promoted relativity recently it has been around for a while, in formats that you will have been using and not realise. The way these companies operate they are providing a form of cloud storage – YouTube, Facebook, email providers and Google Docs.
Consumers are moving to cloud storage as it is convenient and flexible. One of the pros of using a cloud is that you can access your data from any device, in any location, that can access the internet. The cons to look into are the reliability and security of the company who is storing your data, and what measures they take to ensure that is protected against hackers and loss.
There are lots of products available, so you need to consider what information you need to store, how much data there will be, and who needs access to it before making your purchase.
Nickie Baglow (Complete Computing).