Dwight Watt - Newspaper Article #386 8/16/2017

Question: What is the cloud?


The cloud is a method of storing our data and programs/applications somewhere out on the Internet instead of on our own machine.

Traditionally you stored programs and data on the hard drive on your own computer. The size of programs and data has grown immensely and people want to be able to access this information form any computer anywhere in the world. A computer as described in this article could be a desktop PC, laptop, tablet or a smart phone. They all have the capability to run programs and work with data

To allow people to access their data on any computer from anywhere in the world companies like Amazon, Dropbox, Microsoft, and lots of others have set up large server farms at different locations to store our data and programs. Since they are all connected to the Internet as long as our computers connected to the Internet we can access that information.

It is referred to as the cloud as that was the term developed to talk about items of the Internet to connect al the computers together and that users do not need to know about the specific machines, just it is all connected out in that big area that is cloudy to us in that we canít really see the details, but it all works.

There are specific data sites also on the cloud that many of use such as photo storage sites/services like Shutterfly.

Although it is reasonably easy to set up an account at a cloud service and store stuff there, there a few caveats. First they do a basic security but more security is your responsibility. Second is that they do not normally back up your data and programs. If something were to happen to their data farm you would lose all your information. Things that could happen include weather like hurricanes and tornados, fires, terrorist attacks and others. You can pay them extra to back up your data or you could keep on your local computer or on attached external drives and then you would have copies. Whether you store local or on the cloud, backup is essential and being in multiple locations.