“The Cloud” is one of the most frequently used technical terms whose definition is still not clear to many. The reason for this confusion is that “the cloud” is such a broad domain and everyone makes out a definition of it according to his/her usage.
Let us start with an example, when we click a picture, the picture gets stored in our smart phone. But when we upload it on any social media platform say Instagram, we are using the cloud storage. So the cloud is nothing but a network of servers, each server having a specific function to perform. We encounter cloud storage almost every day and every time. Whenever we are using Google drive, iCloud or any storage platform apart from our mobile phone’s memory, we are definitely using the cloud technology.
Origin of cloud computing
The actual usage of cloud has only come up about 10 years ago, but the basic framework of the same was around us decades ago. In the 1950’s when computers occupied the space of a basic room, users would utilize the dumb terminals. The basic idea of the cloud is pretty much just the same with a difference of using data and servers today instead of huge physical spaces.
By the advent of the 1990’s it was clear what the future holds. It was said that one day resources would be shared easily. By 1996, the cloud term was coined and eventually Steve Jobs, a year later utilized this technology for iCloud.
People all over the world were shocked for the fact that now they could store file from one device and access it anywhere they want over the internet. It was a revolution in the history of technology. It was now time to say goodbye to external hard drives, burning CD’s and what not.
How big is the cloud?
Well, that is still unclear, but resources have proven that the cloud can store up to 1 Exabyte. What is an Exabyte? That’s memory equivalent to 4.2 million Macbook Pro hard drives. Definitely a lot of storage!
Maybe that is why, now when we purchase a laptop or tablet or a smart phone, we don’t worry about the hard drive, because we know we have internet to do that heavy lifting!
Is cloud secure?
Security associated with the cloud is still unclear. While the technology is perfect for ever day tasks and sharing not so private documents, but saving personal and confidential information can be risky.
For this, Google is now coming up with advances of encryption. But this feature is only available for users who pay for the cloud storage.
What are the advantages of using the cloud?
- Cost- Literally, the cost is nothing as compared to the job the cloud does. Companies, professionals and users using storage for personal use no more need to invest so much in external hard drives and hardwares. Everything is easily stored and accessible just by a click!
- Speed- It is no rocket science to understand the speed at which the cloud works. Within a few clicks you can utilized the services it has to offer and within minutes you can share your resources!
- Accessibility- One of the major advantages of using the cloud is its accessibility. No matter where you are, as long as you have a stable internet connection you can access your data anywhere and from any machine!
- Back-up- With superb back-up option, the cloud is becoming a popular option for the majority of the users. Once the data is stored on the cloud it is then easier to access the back-up and of course better than on-premise which is time consuming as well.
- No Hardware- With the course of time, humans are realising the value of space and thus reducing everything to the minimum. With this idea, the cloud is a boon to the technology that physically requires no space and is a wonderful option since there is no involvement of hardwares.
Are there any disadvantages as well?
Well, looking at the advantages, it would be hard to believe that the cloud carries some cons as well. Have a look at some of them here:
- Security issues- As discussed earlier as well, saving personal information on the cloud is still a risky option. But there are companies working day and night to improve on that as well.
- Low Bandwidth- Since the technology is still in its infancy, if a lot of users are using the cloud that the same time, the bandwidth automatically reduces. With less speed, the whole idea of the cloud goes in vain.
- Incompatibility- The entire story of cloud is on a virtual platform, so incompatibility issues causes a serious bump in the smooth usage of the technology.
- Limited Features- Not all cloud services are the same, some are available for free while others are being paid for. Obviously, the paid version of the cloud would be better in every aspect than the free versions. So there is no uniformity of the features the user gets hold off.
The Storm Ahead
Well, using the cloud technology can be a boon for many, but comes with its own risks as well. Once you have uploaded something on the server of cloud, you no longer have control over it. So imagine if you uploaded something and the higher authorities wish to have a look at it, they can. They do not need any kind of warrant or permission because you have accepted the terms and conditions of the company serving you with their cloud technology. And let me tell you, a lot of them have unclear versions of how well protected the information is on the cloud storage.
What lies in the future?
Something that was just an idea on the paper before is not a reality for many. With ongoing popularity of the cloud, companies like Google are finding ways on how to advertise over there and make more money.
If we look at it logically, paid cloud versions have the similar price of what we used to pay for external hard drives. But the only and the main advantage is that the information stored is accessible anywhere and everywhere.
Keeping that in mind, using the cloud storage for a user can be exciting but has to be utilized cautiously.
As they say, it is no magic it is all business.