what is the cloud?

The cloud is a buzzword that refers to a physical infrastructure of computers and servers located in massive warehouses called “data centers” all over the world. These data centers have redundant power services and environmental controls, multiple connections to a variety of internet and phone service providers, and tight security. These features make data centers modern fortresses for the data and services that are stored and running on the computers and servers residing within them. You access these data and services via the internet. Therefore, you can typically access them from anywhere and from any device, including your computer, smart phone, tablet, etc.

The primary advantages of the cloud are lower cost of initial setup as well as ongoing maintenance, improved reliability, and universal accessibility.

So, how might you be using the cloud today? Examples of frequently-used cloud technology include:

  • Streaming video services such as Youtube, Netflix, Hulu, Amazon Prime, and many others.

  • Web-based email services such as Gmail, Microsoft Office 365, Hotmail, Yahoo Mail and countless others.

  • Online file storage services such as Microsoft Onedrive, Apple iCloud, Google Drive, Dropbox, and the list goes on.

  • Cloud-based backup services too numerous to list. 

  • Online photo storage and management services such as Google Photos, Picasa, Flickr, and a gazillion others.

  • Cloud-based customer relationship management services such as Salesforce, Netsuite, and others.