The “cloud” is a technology term that has recently appeared on the horizon in a highly visible format – so much so that many people don’t realize that “the cloud” itself has been around as long as email has existed. Because of this, many people who are not as naturally technologically educated or comfortable express some hesitation to jump onboard this new trend in data storage and retrieval. But as more efforts are made to educate consumers and end users about the ever-evolving benefits of “cloud computing technology,” more and more people are likely to begin reaping the full power of what the cloud has to offer. From security to Endpoint Protection to archiving and global mobility, the newer advances in cloud technology offer never before seen benefits for sharing and protecting information.
An Overview of the Cloud
Understanding what the cloud is, what it does and how to access its benefits is simply a matter of going back to school for a brief period to get a basic overview of how cloud services are implemented for various uses. There are three levels of cloud user – those who are just getting acquainted with the technology that is now available, those who are intermediate users and those who are already reaping the full benefits of cloud technology. No matter where you find yourself in the mix, there is always more to learn to benefit from cloud computing whether for personal or professional use. On a very personal level, you use the cloud each time you log in to access your email. Whenever you archive or save an email, that email is stored in copy form on the internet and you can retrieve it whenever you want to. This online storage system is a part of the cloud.
At a more advanced level, if you run a business with an email server exchange and multiple employees who are accessing the system, you are storing their e-communications through a shared cloud-based archiving system. You also are likely operating something called a “firewall” which virtually monitors email communications, deflects malware and spyware from getting through to your employees’ email inboxes, and monitors the types of communications your employees have through the corporate email system. At this higher level of cloud usage, you are incorporating both basic storage and also some level of e-security monitoring system. At a still more advanced level, you may be operating a network system with different computer drives that house different types of information and documentation about your company’s operations. You may be storing all of these different documents on a master virtual server system and your employees can access their drives whether they are in the home office or on the road. Here, you are documenting everything your company does on an ongoing basis and storing the files in a virtual cloud-based system for retrieval as needed.
There are a variety of means by which you can begin to move your operations into a cloud-based environment. What you choose will be determined in part by what type of archiving and security system you already have in place, what your budget is, what your present and future storage and security needs will be, what privacy and security concerns you may have and more. This is one of the many reasons why cloud technology is clearly the solution of the future – because there is so much flexibility in terms of how and how extensively you can implement cloud computing technology that meets your specific needs.
The Forms the Cloud Takes
There are different types of clouds, from public to private (in-house) to hybrid (a combination of public and private) that you can choose from. There are also different types of cloud-based security systems that can protect your data from prying eyes and malicious attacks. The cloud offers tailored solutions for personal use, small business use and use by large national and international organizations. Because a virtual system is also more flexible as your needs change or grow, “the cloud” can grow with you and keep pace with any new developments in your personal or business use. As with any new technology, there will be a necessary period of adjustment, but there is nothing to fear and everything to gain from learning more about all of the ways cloud technology can serve and support you to meet your personal and professional objectives.
Guest article written by: Indira Ramir was born in a small village just outside of Mumbai. She moved to the United States as an adult to earn her degree and now works at a Fortune 500 company where she is head of IT security operations.
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