The Cloud-Explained

You have heard of “the cloud” or maybe “cloud computing.”  Perhaps you’ve wondered what this is and how it affects you.

To begin with, when the Internet was evolving along with networking, diagrams were drawn to show how networks were connected.  Whenever the connection went “off site” (out of the building, basically), this was shown as a cloud on the diagram.  This way the creators of the diagram didn’t have to list all the stuff our there.  Maybe it is a little like the ancient maps that showed the known world and at the edge were the words “here there be dragons.”

The cloud depicts computer resources (hardware and software) that are located somewhere else and available over a network (usually the internet).  To the typical user, the actual location of these services is not important.  The resources could consist of word processing  or financial programs  available only online-meaning the program you are using is located somewhere else and not on your home machine.  Off-site storage is also one of those services.  Many people are now paying a company to remotely store their data.  These services offer convenience and portability.  You can use the services anywhere.  You don’t need the software loaded on your computer.  This means your might be able to use a less-expensive computer to do your work.  But, of course, it’s not free.  So you’ll have to decide if you can benefit from subscribing to these services.

Something to remember–if you are using cloud-based services, you will not be able to do much without an active internet connection.