What is Cloud Computing? Everything you need to know about it

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Cloud Computing has definitely seen an increase in users during the lockdown. It has not only helped in sustaining businesses but has managed to keep the people busy and thriving. Cloud Computing simply put is the on-demand availability of computer system resources. Especially data storage and computing power, with direct active management by the user. The term is generally used to describe data centers available to many users over the internet. Cloud computing relies on the sharing of resources to achieve coherence and economies of scale.

What is Cloud Computing?

A beginners guide

Some of us might have little to no idea about what Cloud Computing really means. So here’s what it means in really simple terms. It means storing and accessing data and programs over the internet instead of your computer’s drive. Now the term cloud is just a metaphor for the internet.

What we can be sure of is that cloud computing is not about the hard drive. When we store data on or run programs from the hard drive, we call it local storage. Everything we need is physically close to us. This basically means that accessing our data becomes fast and much easier. Working with a hard drive is how the computer industry has functioned for decades. And although clouds have been gaining popularity some would still argue that working with a hard drive is superior.

How it works

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First of all, the cloud is not constraint by time or place. And storing data on a home or office network does not count as utilizing it. We need to access our data or program over the internet. And we actually need to have our data synced with other information over the internet. For further knowledge, in a big business, we can get access to the other side of our personal connection. But as an individual user, we have no access to all the information that has been saved on the internet. The result is that cloud computing can be done anywhere, anytime with an online connection.

What this basically means is that a client is allowed to access data over the internet. It can be accessed from remote servers, databases, and computers. An internet network connection is undoubtedly needed to link the front and the back end. The back end functions as a repository, storing data that is accessed by the front end. Communication between the front and back ends are managed by a central server. It relies on protocols to facilitate the exchange of data. Typically, for each individual, there will be a dedicated server.

Some examples of Cloud Computing

Google Docs, Microsoft Office 365: Users can access Google Docs and Microsoft Office 365 through the internet. This option allows users to be more productive. Users can access work presentations and spreadsheets stored in the cloud at any time from any place and any device.

Email, Calendar, Skype, WhatsApp: These apps take advantage of the cloud’s ability to provide users with access to data remotely. In this way, they can access their personal data on any device, whenever and wherever they want.

Zoom: Zoom is a cloud-based software platform for video and audio conferencing. It records meetings and saves them to the cloud, enabling users to access them anywhere and at any time.

AWS Lambda: Lambda allows developers to run code for applicants or back-end services without having to provision or manage servers. The pay-as-you-go model constantly scales with an organization to accommodate real-time changes in data usage and data storage.

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Why use Cloud?

  1. No cost on infrastructure. Cloud computing is divided into three major categories as per the services. Infrastructure as a Service(IaaS), Platform as a Service(PaaS), and Software as a Service(SaaS). One particular aim of the cloud is to cut costs. And also to help users focus on their core business instead of being hindered by IT obstacles. With the cloud, you don’t need to invest in hardware or any infrastructure.
  2. The main enabling technology for cloud computing is virtualization. This provides the agility to speed up IT operations and reduces costs by increasing infrastructure utilization.
  3. When you opt for the cloud, the management of the infrastructure is the sole responsibility of the cloud provider. Cloud offers you minimum management and helps you save costs in many ways.
  4. Cloud resources are easily accessible from across the globe. It can be accessed from everywhere at any time and from any device. And the billing is done by how much you use, which reads that you only pay for what you use.
  5. Losing important data can be very risky for your business and job. You might end up losing critical information which could eventually lead to loss of money. To prevent such a mishap, you can backup all your data to the cloud regularly. This helps you recover any data that might have been lost otherwise.
  6. With most cloud services providing you free and huge secure storage spaces, you get enough space for personal use. But if you need more space you can always buy it from cloud storage services. This gives you access to more cloud storage space.

Also read, top 4 public cloud security risks

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Future of Cloud Computing?

Cloud computing provides several key benefits including flexibility, cost-efficiency, easy to use, backup and recovery, and off-site access. All these benefits make the cloud very appealing, but apart from all these benefits, it has its own disadvantages. Like how the cloud is heavily dependent on our network connectivity. Also, not all cloud providers are created equally. We may face the issue of limited features with some cloud storage.

When we update our data on the cloud it basically means that we’re entrusting our personal information and data to another party. In this way, we have less control over what happens with our data. And cloud hacking cases over the past years have shown that not all cloud providers are as secure as they claim to be.

With all this in check, one might be unwilling to take things online. But as the future keeps unfolding, we cannot help but notice the rise of the digital age. Cloud computing is a powerful tool and it depends on the users and who they chose to provide it. With that said, big companies cannot escape the need for such a tool. And because of its accessibility and easy-to-use interface, small businesses are on track with the cloud. And because of the lockdown, clouds have become very necessary and their need has been heightened even more. What is to become of cloud computing will eventually be seen with time.

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