What is the cloud exactly?
The first thing you should understand about the cloud is that it is not a physical thing. The cloud is a network of servers, and each server has a different function. Some servers use computing power to run applications or “deliver a service.”
Other servers in the network are responsible for storing data.
For example, when you take a picture on your smartphone, it is stored on your phone’s internal memory drive. However, when you upload the photos to Instagram, you are uploading it to the cloud.
Is “The Cloud” really safe?
Before talking about some advantages of using the cloud for your day-to-day tasks and services, it`s worth mentioning that there’s no such thing as a “fail proof” cloud service. Most of the cloud services we use, by consequence, our documents, photos, musics and so on, are not fully safe. Big players in the cloud realm such as Dropbox, Sony (Playstation Network) and even Evernote have been hacked, at least once, exposing at least the username and password of their users, leading to a potential theft of sensible data of their users.
Another cenario that you should have in mind is that the mother nature is unpredictable. There’s no way to make a Datacenter “tsunami-proof” or “meteor-proof”. Shit happens, and there’s no way the services can protect your data from these situations. The best they can do is to duplicate your data across multiple geographical zones, making a “backup” in different regions of the globe, making sure that for instance, if an earthquake hits their datacenter in China, they still have another one in the US mimicking the one that was destroyed.
Ok, so, why should i move to the cloud?
Allright, so we now know that the cloud is not completely safe, but, how about your house ? The chances of you living in a bunker are very low. So, the data sitting in a DVD, Flash Drive or External Hard drive carefully placed in your drawer by the bed, are also vulnerable to the same disasters that the datacenters that hold the cloud services are. Ok, i bet that now the idea of having professional people taking care of your data, seems a little better, right ?
Making use of cloud services correctly, means that your data will always be backed up, and available everywhere no matter what kind of data we are talking about.
There are cloud services that allow you to storage all your files, no matter which format. Be it the last meeting excel sheet, or the report presentation to your boss and even your last vacation pictures. The sky is the limit, or should we say, the cloud is the limit ?
Since the files you uploaded to the cloud service you are using, are not only on your computer, they are acessible everywhere, from every computer with internet access, making it easier to get to that brownie recipe you uploaded to Evernote or to that very secure password for your personal email that Lastpass have saved securely for you, so you don`t even have to remember it.
The cost of moving to the cloud?
Nowadays there’s a plethora of cloud services with free tiers (usually limiting the maximum storage you can use), meaning that the majority of the internet users can start living in the cloud, for free.
Here are some examples of cloud-storage services, that offer a decent free tier:
- Dropbox – 2GB Free (+500 MB for each friend you invite)
- Skydrive – 7GB Free
- Box.net – 10GB Free
- Google Drive – 15GB Free
So, are you ready for the cloud ?
Are you ready to migrate your workflow and personal files to the cloud ? Do you have any fears ?
Let me know in the comments what you thought about this post, what are your favorite cloud services and any sugestions / advices for people who are interest in trying the cloud.
See you in the next post