What is the Cloud?

What is the Cloud?

The Cloud is something many of us have come to rely on… need to free up some memory on your iPhone? Send those holiday snaps to the Cloud. Need to transfer your files to a new device? No problem, use the Cloud. Can’t find a USB stick to transfer your presentation? Easy, use the… well, you get the idea.

For all those who don’t actually think they use the Cloud, chances are you’re probably mistaken. Use Instagram? That’s cloud based. Use Adobe Creative Cloud, again that’s Cloud based. Ever watched/used Netflix? You guessed it… Cloud!

A basic explanation
Now we’ve established that the Cloud plays a part in our modern-day lives, let’s look at what the Cloud actually is. The Cloud itself in its most basic format is a network of servers. Some of these servers provide a service like Adobe Creative Cloud, whilst others, such as Instagram, Dropbox and so on, allow you to store and access data. Possibly the easiest way to think about the Cloud is a file storing/sharing setup which is accessed over the internet, rather than locally on your hardware.

Despite what the name may lead you to believe, the files aren’t actually stored in our atmosphere, they’ll be housed in server farms which run 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, 365 days a year. What’s interesting is it’s very difficult to track down these farms and identify exactly where your files are in the world… interesting and maybe even a little concerning!

What are the advantages/risks of using the Cloud?
The Cloud is great, its impact on the internet and our lives is simply huge. In terms of advantages nothing is bigger than the ability to house and even share your files in an online space, which is accessible on the move, via a huge range of devices.

One of the biggest risks is something which has come to light in recent years is hacking. When you save your items online via the Cloud they’re open to malicious attacks, which is something you don’t need to think about for offline, locally stored files. However, unless you’re an A list celeb chances are your Ibiza 2012 photos won’t be a target (but in reality you never really know!).

A secondary risk and an incredibly frustrating one, is lack of internet connection. For example, what good is a cloud based streaming platform (Netflix) if you haven’t got a reliable internet connection.

The future of the Cloud
As you can tell from this article the Cloud is a hugely established IT platform. You may be wondering can the Cloud can advance further than being the medium of choice for file sharing via our mobiles, or the base platform for some of our key entertainment platforms?… Well, in early 2016 Google announced that the Cloud platform will form the base for Machine Learning (that’s right… computers that learn and adapt their behaviour based on data/information/command). One thing we’re sure of, there are interesting times ahead for the Cloud!

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