Cloud computing delivers information technology services through the internet directly to the user, on demand, where the user can then store his or her information in the cloud instead of on a local device.
Of course, your information isn’t really sitting on a mass of water vapor floating about between the ground and the vacuum of space. Instead, it’s residing on a network of storage devices. For example, your information might be stored on a blade computer in a storage rack in a data center or network operations center.
A huge advantage to this storage scenario is if your local storage device, such as your cell phone, becomes inoperable. You would not lose all of your information, like all those selfies you took on your summer vacation (along with all your music, videos, contacts, etc.).
You may also be familiar with other types of cloud storage technology, used for work and play, such as:
- Business Productivity: Services such as Google Docs, Adobe Document Cloud, or Microsoft One Drive that enable users to upload business documents into the cloud for storage and sharing. This business space continues to grow with the entry of companies such as Slack and Dropbox.
- Social Media: Facebook and Twitter continue to grab a large user base, the effects of which can be seen in the current political cycle as candidates use this medium to connect with voters.
- Photo Sharing: Instagram, Flicker, and Shutterfly, just to name a few, are very popular methods to share that latest family photo.
Somewhat less familiar terms used to categorize different types of cloud services are:
- SaaS (Software as a Service): This is usually a type of productivity software, such as a word processing package, used to get a specific task done. You might be using this type of cloud service as part of a Microsoft Office 365 account.
- PaaS (Platform as a Service): This is more of a business-to-business cloud solution you would most likely encounter in your workplace that provides the operating system on which your company’s computers run.
- IaaS (Infrastructure as a Service): This is a background service that allows businesses to interconnect within and outside of their company network.
Then there are the different types of clouds:
- Public Cloud – This is a network open to all public use, like you might find in a coffee shop or hotel room. When connecting, you might be presented with a warning that your online activity may be viewable by other people on the same network.
- Private Cloud – This is a network operated for a single organization, such as when you log into your employer’s network, and is only accessible to you and your coworkers.
- Hybrid Cloud – This type of network provides both public and private cloud access.
Now that cloud computing has such a high adoption rate, due to the relative low cost compared to the service provided, there is lots of data sitting in the cloud. And, where there’s lots of data there’s lots of interest to acquire that data.
But, because of the convenience of the cloud and virtual computing, virtual cloud computing continues to gain ground and public acceptance. Who hasn’t simply tapped on their smartphone and transferred money from one bank account to another, or paid a bill online?