” Every cloud has a silver-lining…”
” I wondered lonely as a cloud… “
We could go on and on with some delightful quotations about clouds… in terms of weather, emotions, love and our inner soul but, the topic of today’s post is not weather, climate or inner demons and unrequited love.
The cloud to which we are referring to is cloud computing.
Unless you have not turned on your laptop, surfed the web on your phone or had a gambol through Internet Land via your tablet for decades, then you cannot have failed to have heard about the cloud or cloud computing.
However, ask all those so-called ‘experts’ what it is and HOW you can use, and you may find the answer sadly lacking in detail…
And here’s why: we have a notion that as a cloud, it is floating, mysterious, non-physical, supernatural and a place that only the initiated can access…
It is actually a jolly big computer. In fact, it is more than one very big, gigantic, humongous computer; there are several of them and they are all dotted about this planet of ours. The cloud is a physical place. It does not float and they are not mysterious… or it won’t be after you have read this post!
What you need to access the cloud
An internet connection.
And that us really all. Cloud computing is about you, the user, accessing space on a remote server (the cloud). You access this place via your laptop, PC, tablet, phone or any other device that connects to the Internet. You save things to this space, rather than to your device. Thus saving memory. And we all know how slow our smart phones can get when we have thousands of images or video eating up memory space.
And in step the services provided by a range of providers. These are all companies – mostly very well-known ones – who have oodles of space on their servers (clouds) at very secure locations that they will ‘rent’ to you for a fee; some offer a small portion for FREE too!
In exchange for this rent, you can use X amount of storage space for images, videos, vines, blogs, documents etc.
But, before you spend your money, is cloud computing here to stay?
Like many technological advances, at the time they were all the rage and seemed like a good idea and then they disappeared, superseded by something bigger and better.
But, cloud computing seems here to stay. There are oodles of applications and cloud computing packages that have been developed and are being developed to the help individuals and businesses. Just take a look at the online, cloud based accounting packages – really simple to use, and all your data safely stored when plague, pestilence and fire cannot reach it (but, if they did, all your data is securely backed up and in theory, you can still access it).
Surveys, statistics and data
These statistics are from a 2013 survey of a rather large proportion of IT-based managers (around 3,500 of them!) and this is what they were saying over a year ago:
- Over a third of them suggested that the reason they liked and used The Cloud was because they could store and access a variety of information using several different devices – in other words, they could access documents on whatever device they had to hand, whether that was being sat at the work based PC or the tablet on their commute home etc.
- Saving money, structure and people – cloud computing for some of the larger companies has seen then save around 14% in terms of budget spend on IT people and departments and 87% overall in terms of some project budgets that they swapped to cloud computing services. But, those companies offer cloud services have taking up this mantel by expanding their services as a result of cloud popularity.
- Increasing in popularity – back in 2013, 65% of American companies adopted cloud computing for some, if not all of their projects. This figure is expected to increase.
- Improvement – companies suggested that overall, they saw a 90% increase in the efficiency of their IT department since moving some or all of their projects to the cloud.
- Adaptability and competitiveness – small business felt that they were able to complete better with larger competitors as they too have ease of access to cloud computing services; no longer do they need to invest in expensive machinery, equipment and expensive specialists…
Do we need to persuade you anymore?
Which cloud computing services will you use?
There are oodles of platforms and services that you and your business can benefit from. Here we have rounded up just three of what we think are great introductions to the world of cloud computing…
Heard of Dropbox? Great for personal storage and for business use, although there is a current monthly fee of £11 per user for this service, although it does promise increase productivity as there is minimal training as the platform is so easy to use.
With over 300 million user worldwide, Dropbox is enjoying huge success. You can sign up for 2GB of storage for free, a perfect way to offload some of those photos from your phone and free up memory.
Users rate this platform highly and we think it is a great way to experience the cloud without getting in a cold sweat and tizzwazz.
Those of us on Gmail may have already come across the delights of Google Drive; attachments that need saving after you have worked on them can be saved to your portion of Google drive… and if you have forgotten your memory stick or need access without the rigmarole of getting Maureen from accounts to access you email, then Google Drive is rather a handy way of doing it.
There are also many third party apps that connect with Google Drive so all round, we think this is a winner, as do 190 million users worldwide that use it every month (you can also pay a monthly fee for unlimited storage!)
Microsoft SkyDrive… now known as OneDrive
Cloud. Sky. Get it?!
Offering 15GB of free storage, you can snaffle more by simply connecting certain devices, and using certain platforms – OneDrive will direct you – and this is made it one of the most popular cloud storage services ever.
Like other cloud services, they charge a monthly fee if you want a bigger portion of the cloud and this is where people are finding it really pays; SkyDrive’s monthly fees are much, much lower than others, with the basic package starting at £1.99 a month (offers change, so check before you sign up!).
Here at Locally we love keeping things simple and so, if you are yet to discover cloud computing for you personally, then make it the goal for this month that you take a brows round the three we have mentioned.
Once you feel comfortable, why not take a look at what cloud computing can offer your business? Secure, shareable with people you want to share with, cloud services far safer than you think.
In this wonky world of ours where terrorism, weather and general chaos can strike at any time, many of the facilities run by cloud service companies really are bomb proof, with the highest grade military security you could ever possibly imagine…