What is “Cloud Computing” is a question I’ve been asked more than once. It was a subject I planned to write about, but David Horowitz did that for me in the March 2013 edition of The Costo Connection. In the article he quotes Google spokesperson Tim Drinan who says, “Every time you use the Internet, you are cloud computing.” All of the information you access on the Internet is on a server somewhere. It is not on your computer’s hard drive.
Google Drive, Apple’s iCloud, Amazon Cloud Drive, Dropbox, Box.com, Microsoft SharePoint and HPCloud are some examples of “cloud servers”. With these services you can store your personal information “in the cloud” and access them from any computer or mobile device. Cloud servers also provide an off-site backup for your files in case your hard drive crashes or another catastrophe happens and you lose local information.
- Requires broadband access
- Providers must maintain 24/7 uptime
- Privacy concerns
With all the hacking going on lately, privacy is more and more a concern with cloud computing. Hororwitz notes several steps you can take to improve your own security when using the cloud:
- Create strong passwords. Don’t use information that can be easily guessed by others.
- Use different passwords on different sites.
- Use your own encryption tools before uploading your files. If your encryption files are stored on your own computer, make sure it is not easily hacked.
- Enable two-step authentication so your account cannot be accessed without a using a code that is texted to your phone. This link explains how to do that with Google. Search for ways to do the same thing with your other cloud providers.
- Keep your computer system, browsers, and software updated regularly because they may contain security fixes.
- Check your computer with a reputable, up to date antivirus program.
For more info:
Cloud Computing (Wikipedia)
What is Cloud Computing (from PC Magazine)
What is Cloud Computing? (from Dummies.com)
How Cloud Computing Works
What is Cloud Computing? (from about.com)
Cloud Computing (Mashable)
Cloud photo courtesy of karendailziel’s photostream.