Ask the Techspert: Basics of The Cloud
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It might sound unbelievable, but the history of Cloud computing has its roots in the 1960s with the works of Joseph Carl Robnett Licklider on the ARPANET. However, it only became popular in the late 1990s when companies understood the Cloud and its services better and saw an opportunity to deliver software to end-users via the internet.
In the simplest terms, the Cloud refers to some computer storage units (Servers) located all over the globe and accessible over the internet.
Am I using the Cloud?
Yes! Every internet user benefits from the Cloud to some extent. Any data on the internet is stored in the Cloud. That includes all photos on any social media website, emails, streaming movies, etc.
When talking about the Cloud, most of us usually think about iCloud, Google Drive, OneDrive, Dropbox, and similar services. But these are just Cloud services.
One would compare Cloud services to Storage unit businesses in the real world. You rent a storage unit and pay a monthly fee to keep using it. The bigger the storage, the higher the cost. Once you stop paying for it, you could get locked from accessing its content.
Moreover, just like you could have multiple storage units from different companies simultaneously, you could also utilize various Cloud services.
Benefits of the Cloud (vs. Hard Drive)
The Cloud has many benefits, and here are the top three related to personal usage:
- Back up and restore data: Wouldn’t it be nice to easily retrieve all the photos, messages, and phone numbers if you lost or changed phones? Well, that’s where backing up to the Cloud comes in. No one can predict when a disaster like losing your computer will happen. So most Cloud services out there make it easy to back up your data automatically as you are using your devices.
- Mobility: Contrary to traditional hard drives, you cannot misplace the Cloud or forget it when you need it on a trip. Cloud services allow you to access your data from anywhere globally as long as you have access to the internet.
- Security: Yes! Cloud services are definitely more secure than hard drives. Only a handful of people add a password to their hard drives to protect their data. However, you must set up a username and password to access your Cloud service account data. Nowadays, most services require two-factor authentication when accessed from an unrecognized computer or location. Hence, knowing your password wouldn’t be enough to access your data from an unknown computer.
Three things to keep in mind
- It is always a great idea to utilize your Cloud service provider’s extra security and recovery features. These include adding a backup email, linking your current phone number, and activating two-factor authentication. Failing to do so, combined with forgetting your passwords to both your Cloud account and the email linked to it, could make your data inaccessible forever. (Well, until you remember any of the two passwords.)
- Your primary email password is the most critical of all passwords, for it is the door to reset the passwords of all online accounts linked to it, including your Cloud account.
- To access the data saved in your Cloud account, you must have access to an internet connection.
Want to learn more about the Cloud?
Then you should join Senior Planet Avenidas on Friday, May 27, 2022, in their Silicon Valley Speakers Series: Demystifying Information Technology – Computer and Cloud Storage (Click on the link for all the details).
This article provided a basic introduction to the Cloud. In a future Techspert article, we will go deeper into some of the more popular Cloud services. But for now, you could read more about them in this insightful article by CNET.
Leave a comment below with any questions or input that you might have!
Techspert Jonathan is Senior Planet’s Sr. Digital Community Relations and Product Specialist and a former Senior Planet San Antonio technology trainer. He is also an iOS developer with a background in Information Systems and Cyber Security.
Jonathan, Senior Planet’s Techspert columnist, answers one of your questions every month… but for exclusive tech reports, talks, webinars and more, become a Senior Planet official Supporter. Learn more about becoming a Supporter and access to exclusive events and offerings here.
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