What is the ‘cloud’? It’s a tech-term that might sound whimsical and intriguing to some, but to many of us, it seems like a term that describes an eerie, oppressive data-fog that hovers in the sky.
To clear the air, here’s a condensed explanation of what a ‘cloud’ really is…
A cloud is an off-site place where you can store and share data, and it can be accessed from virtually any location and device that is connected to the internet.
Here are a few examples of cloud services:
- Google Drive
I’m a firm believer in working from a cloud service, because it offers several features that you just can’t get by toting around an external hard drive or banking on the one that’s spinning inside your computer right now. Here are my 5 BIG reasons you should make the switch to the cloud — and send your productivity to the stratosphere.
#1: Backups to Your Backups
Have you ever accidentally spilled a latte on your laptop, or watched in horror as your desktop crashed with that telltale ‘blue screen of death’?
If so, was your data backed up?
My number-one reason for switching to the cloud (learned from personal experience) is you never have to worry about losing your important data — because it’s accessible from any device that has access to the internet.
So, even if your Macbook Air ended up sinking to the bottom of your backyard swimming pool, you won’t have to worry about losing your most important projects. All you’d need to do is snatch your data out of the sky, because that’s where it lived in the first place.
#2: Because Hackers Exist
Let’s face it…
As much as we’d like to see ourselves as tech-savvy individuals, hackers tend to be a bit better at outsmarting our attempts to thwart them (otherwise they wouldn’t be hacking). While we might be able to implement certain measures in securing our own computers and servers from blackhat cybercriminals, most of us don’t have the IT-knowhow to keep out the truly talented bad guys.
However, most cloud services offer a much higher level of security than we can usually provide for our own home offices… save for the larger firms with their own educated crew of tech people.
Not only do cloud service companies have stellar protection over their own servers, but because most will use SSL (Secure Socket Layer) to move your data, hackers won’t even be able to pitch camp in between you and your cloud to ‘sniff out’ what you send.
#3: Beyond the Office Cubicle
Using cloud services is one of the most convenient ways to work, because you’re not tied down to a single access point.
So while you might want to work at the office today, you could work from your favorite coffee shop or by the hot tub at the Marriott tomorrow. For this reason, cloud services are especially ideal for virtual assistants.
The other convenient part about this advantage is if you don’t have access to your laptop (or it was utterly destroyed by the baggage ‘handlers’ at the airport), your operation won’t even skip a beat. All you’d need to do is hop on any other computer or internet capable device, and off you go.
#4: But Wait, There’s More (Options)
A fairly common reason for hesitation in switching to the cloud is that many are wary of placing their invaluable data completely in the hands of a single company’s servers. There are sound reasons for this issue of trust, especially if there might be concerns of confidentiality.
But that doesn’t necessarily negate harnessing the power of the cloud entirely…
There are certain companies, such as Transporter, that provide private cloud servers that can be purchased for $99. Essentially, it’s your very own cloud. You don’t even have to pay any monthly fees to access it, because it’s all yours. You own it, 100%.
#5: Betting on the Future
According to ThoughtsOnCloud.com (by IBM), cloud services are set to become far more common, get easier to integrate, and provide even more power and efficiency to users. By 2016, over a quarter of all apps will be compatible in the cloud.
Businesses are also actively adopting ‘hybrid cloud’ services, and this trend is projected to increase over the next 3 years. By 2017, half of all businesses will use a blend of cloud services and central servers for storing and sharing data — and it will become industry market of around $250 billion overall.
Since the use of cloud services will only increase in popularity, you might as well stay ahead of the productivity curve.
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