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What does Cloud computing mean?

Cloud computing and storage

The I.T. world is full of jargon but it’s surprising the number of people we deal with who have heard of the term “Cloud” computing, but still do not know what it means….and how it could benefit them.

Essentially, when people talk about “Cloud” computing they are talking about a method to store your files on special servers on the internet, instead of just on your computer. Saving them “on the Cloud”.

That way, if something bad happened to your computer, copies of your files would be safely tucked away somewhere else where you could still access them even if you could not use your computer.

Is it just online storage?

It is more than that, as your files could be accessible to you whenever and wherever you may be, so you are not tied down to have to be sitting at your computer to access them. One of the most well-known (and copied) ‘Cloud’ services is from a company called Dropbox.

Here is the way it works – you open an account (which is free up to a certain level of storage) and you install their program. This creates a folder on your computer and if you save something (a photo, document or whatever) in that folder, not only will it be saved on your computer, but also a copy is automatically sent to a secure server for safekeeping.

You don’t have to do anything special or anything that you do not already do – all you need to remember is to save your work in the cloud folder. You can make changes, share the file with other people – you can even do something at work and carry on with it when you get home. And vice versa.

For home users, it’s a great way to back up your important files without having to go through the hassle of setting up backup plans to an external hard drive – it’s automatic.

I’m not sure about saving my files there – is it secure?

Well, governments use it and it’s fair to say that the security at data centres where this is stored, is some of the hardest security around. Although nothing online can be guaranteed to be 100% secure, great lengths are taken to protect the information, including copies in more than one place so if one data centre has a problem, another can take over.

So the term ‘Cloud’ can do more for you than you realise and can be an inexpensive lifesaver – especially for businesses.

If you want help setting up a ‘Cloud’ storage system, please give us a call on 01455 209505.

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