What is the Cloud and How Does it Work?

The cloud is an umbrella term used to describe various internet-based services, mostly focused around computing power, application software, and storage. The client’s device or web browser accesses the infrastructure via programs. The infrastructure needed to run this service is maintained by the service provider.

Cloud services first started in 2006 when Amazon began renting a massive amount of computing and storage power to various companies under AWS.

The large number of cloud providers make it accessible for businesses to outsource hardware requirements and the need to hire round-the-clock technicians. The relevant data, just like before, is still stored on server architecture. However, this data is saved in numerous locations.

Types of Cloud Computing

Cloud computing can be categorized into three areas: Infrastructure as a Service (IaaS), a space that is mostly dominated by Google and Amazon; Platform as a Service (PaaS) — a space where developers can create online applications for their users; and Software as a Service (SaaS) — where users utilize software applications by using a fast internet service, such as fiber optic connections.

Nearly every online user has interacted with cloud services. If you’ve used Facebook, Gmail, and Instagram, then you’ve seen SaaS in action! One of the aspects that make them so powerful is the fact that millions of people can use the same information simultaneously.

Users can also use services such as Dropbox and Google Drive to store their information such as photos, email, calendars, and other data in a centrally accessible location. This information can be configured to sync with the cloud on the go, ending an era of juggling around a dozen or so USB cables.

Pros and Cons of Cloud Computing at a Glance

The architecture can be easily scaled without any limitations and is not susceptible to failure. Devices such as laptops, desktops, and PCs only require an internet connection and appropriate credentials to access the cloud services from anywhere in the world.

Another advantage of the cloud is that because the information is handled by remote servers, you don’t need a high-end machine to complete your work. In fact, most companies use cloud-based services as a low-cost option for their consumers.

But the cloud does have a few disadvantages as well. Without a good fiber optic internet connection, you’ll find it a bit more difficult to access your data and cloud-based programs. In some cases, the server may go through technical issues and outages.

Also, since most of your information can now be found online, there is always the added risk of a data breach and unauthorized personnel gaining access to your information. All top-rated cloud companies utilize advanced security measures to protect their data from hackers, but they are not foolproof, this is why you should be careful about the type of data you choose to store on the cloud.

In some cases, it may be better to just store the information on your PC — if you know it’s sensitive and shouldn’t end up in the wrong hands.

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Published: October 13, 2021