What is Cloud Computing? Risks and Benefits of Saving Data Online

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Cloud Computing for Global Information Sharing: Image by spekulator

Cloud computing is a fancy way of referring to the storage of information online, or on a network, rather than on your local hard drive. You can keep everything from software to documents and pictures in the cloud, but there are a few risks in addition to the benefits of using online storage.

Benefits of Cloud Computing

Storing information and software in the cloud has a number of benefits, particularly for businesses, but also for individuals.

  • Convenience: Information stored online is accessible from any location. Instead of carrying around a thumb drive, CD or other storage device, just pull your information from the online storage facility, and make real-time changes.
  • Faster computing: When you fill up your hard drive with files and software, it slows down your computer’s performance. If everything is stored online, it frees up storage space, and helps your computer run faster.
  • Secure backups: A reputable cloud storage provider will offer robust redundancy, to prevent the data loss you might expect during a hard drive crash or other emergency. In other words, breaking your computer turns into less of a tragedy, because all your pictures of the grandkids are safe in the arms of the cloud.

Risks of All-Online Storage

Information Storage in the Cloud: Image by artM

Storing all of your data and software online may sound like a great idea, but the drawbacks can be severe if you don’t do your homework. Research carefully before trusting your valuable information to any cloud storage vendor.

  • Hacking/Viruses: If your information is on the Internet, you’re at risk of being hacked, or losing data to a virus. In reality, personal information is at risk whether it is stored on your home computer or a cloud server, but you can personally oversee the protections on your home computer. Strong security measures may be in place in the cloud, but you must place a degree of trust in the vendor.
  • Downtime: In the event of an Internet outage, you will be completely cut off from your data and software. In order to mitigate this risk, consider keeping local backups and at least one computer with locally installed software.

Understanding Cloud Computing

As software applications become bigger, and media files are more commonly shared and transferred between users, an off-site storage solution becomes more necessary. In the era of the Internet, Google Chrome and Amazon’s Cloud Drive, cloud computing is rapidly emerging as the storage solution of the future.

Looking for more information on cloud computing? Check out Intel’s vision for the future of Cloud Computing.

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