Dec 20, 2013

Up in the Air: Data Continues to Move to the Cloud

Tech enthusiasts salivate over shiny new gadgets and fancy titles, but one of the biggest technological shifts is happening out of sight. Data and programs are slowly migrating to the cloud, a general term to describe web-based servers that users can access anywhere they have an Internet connection. The cloud is raising security levels and lowering operating costs, and soon it will be a $100 billion industry, notes.
Chances are you already use the cloud in some capacity, whether through email or streaming services. Businesses and personal users alike can take advantage of this convenient technology to boost their bottom lines and improve their overall computing experiences.

Old vs. New

In order to understand the cloud, consider life before it. Computing took place on local servers, meaning if you wanted to run a program or store data, you needed the server hardware to support it. Not only was this practice expensive, it was also impractical. If you wanted to scale your operation, you needed more servers, more space and more time. The cloud was a revelation for large-scale computing professionals. With a virtual network, they no longer needed their own hardware. Data lived in remote servers, and professionals could rent more or less space as needed. This lifted the burden of having to set up an in-house IT department and lowered operating costs. Now, cloud computing is following its own lead and scaling to provide this convenience on a global level.

Cloud Computing Providers

Providers are scrambling for a share of this relatively new market. A combination of established tech veterans and up-starts promise the most reliable storage service at the best rate. Google offers customizable cloud storage options starting at $0.063 per GB per month. Game developer Ubisoft used Google's cloud to get its game up and running on the web browser. Lesser-known providers offer unique perks. A review of Just Cloud storage notes that the service is compatible with Windows, Mac and Linux systems. If your system has special requirements, chances are a cloud-computing provider will be able to accommodate your needs.

The Cloud and You

Whether you're a business owner or personal user, cloud computing can enhance the way you store and access data. A small business who deals with a large quantity of data doesn't have the budget to purchase servers and hire IT pros. The cloud offers all the capabilities of high-performance servers without the investment. Not only is it good on the bottom line, this virtual network is also handy on the road. Access documents from that coffee shop across the country as if you were in your office.
Students will appreciate the convenience of cloud computing. With a service like Dropbox, they can load documents to their accounts and access them anywhere. No more losing papers after a hard drive crashes. Cloud computing is the fool-proof way to keep documents secure and accessible. Computing is headed to the cloud. Make the shift and you'll find that the landing is smooth.

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