• OSG

The Cloud

What's the best way at understanding the cloud without feeling afraid or nervous? Essentially, view the cloud as a giant USB stick. Somewhere that files (documents, videos, music etc) are stored. That simple. It's by no means a perfect system - nothing really is. However, we would say that it's a big improvement on what came before it - USB sticks and Floppy Disks. Remember them?! Each held around 1mb - ridiculous. Anyway, the reason it's an improvement revolves around its convenience. We say that the cloud can be accessed from anywhere. Technically true, but you'll still need an internet connection. That does seem pretty trivial at this point as internet is very available almost everywhere we go. That being said, an internet connection is not always required. The answer to this involves something we know as 'syncing' our data. Looking at cloud storage, we can effectively download our own cloud (OneDrive, Google Drive etc) and have the files offline. A copy of them are still in the cloud at this point - but if you don't have an internet connection, you can work on the files on your computer - and when you reconnect to the internet, the files will sync with your cloud and it's back online. So what else is in the cloud? Let's talk about another word - streaming. We're all aware of how this works? Netflix is based on this concept - you sign in using your username and password and then pick something to stream online - job done. All of Netflix is on the cloud. Make sense? As mentioned above, the reason the cloud is so useful is due to its convenience. We no longer need to purchase huge hard drives for an extortionate price, but rather pay a small monthly fee (only if you exceed your free limit) to access your data on any device. Not only is it a cost save, but it's a space saver! Our computers have become so physically small because we don't have a need for a CD Drive, 8 USB slots and a Floppy Drive (for those that don't know what a floppy disk is - look it up. You'll be amazed at how we used to live!). Since we don’t have a need to find a space for all of this, our lives are much more mobile friendly - enabling us to work and play on the go. There is an argument for having all of your files etc online. What about hackers? True. If everything is online, it is vulnerable to someone stealing it and exploiting it. However, if we take action on the steps such as creating strong passwords, staying alert to phishing attacks and spyware etc, we should be able to quietly go about our business without too much fear. If you're super paranoid though, how about you don't store your bank statements and other very personal files online? But save that space for work files, university files and such? There's definitely a good balance between using the cloud and avoiding it - but to be honest, the world is moving towards it, so let's get on board and find the best way for us all to use it. If you're still not convinced - check out more detail from our 3 Minute video on the Cloud. It explains exactly how it works and why it's better than what we had before :)