What is “the cloud?” Is the cloud secure? Is it reliable?

These are all questions commonly asked about the cloud. Cloud computing has been around for as long as computers have been but the term has recently come to the forefront of the popular lexicon. Cloud computing is essentially using someone else’s computers to store and process your data. Instead of running dedicated servers on-site to perform these functions, the tasks are outsourced to another organization. This organization then pools all their users together to reduce costs.

Cloud computing can be used to host email, host websites, store files, and create videos among other things. Many people already use a cloud email provider such as Gmail or a cloud file service such as Dropbox.

Advantages of this method revolve around cost. Choosing, constructing, maintaining, and constantly upgrading a server is expensive. But, when the cost can be spread out over multiple users, the per-user cost is much lower. Dropbox – for example – maintains buildings full of servers which hold millions of user’s data. Although the cost of the infrastructure is great, the subscription fees charged to you – the user – are low. The users don’t have to think about how the servers are maintained, only about their data which can be accessed from anywhere an internet connection is available.

The key disadvantage is speed. Data will only transfer as fast as your internet connection. For users that infrequently access their data, use small files, or have fast internet connections, this is less of an issue. But, organizations that need instant access to large files such as videos, cloud computing might not be a good option. Another disadvantage may be security. It’s important to properly audit a cloud provider and read up on their security policies and track records to ensure your data is safe.

Calm Computing has been using distributed cloud computing for decades. We’ve assisted many companies in transitioning their expensive dedicated servers to distributed cloud servers. We have also assisted home users in storing their documents and photos in the cloud so they can be accessed from their laptop, phone, or tablet anywhere in the world. We can audit your data, evaluate your usage patterns, and help you choose a solution that is best for you and safest for your data.