In the IT world there is a buzz around the term Cloud computing, also known as ‘the Cloud’. Executives and CEOs will say, ‘Our company is making the move from server to Cloud.” Or they may say, ‘My company is moving to Cloud migration because it is good for backup purposes and it’s easily accessible’.
But, then you might have a slew of possibly embarrassing questions: What is this Cloud? Is it space? Does it just become larger every time something appears? Are there different kinds? Who controls what happens there?
These are quality outsider questions, but frankly, the newest way to store data is oddly a common concept for most of us, considering many of us use Cloud-based applications every day.
What is the Cloud?
According to PCMag, Cloud computing is, “storing and accessing data and programs over the internet instead of your computer’s hard drive.” The Cloud became popularized by Amazon after the dot-com bust in the late 90s, early 2000s. Their company understood that a single server runs 10% of its capacity when it focuses on one task. Therefore, they formed a network of interconnected servers that shared each other’s resources, resulting in better efficiency and accessibility of data across their workplace.
So what is the difference? There is local storage and there is the Cloud. If a company stores information on a hard drive, known as local storage, then they will need to acquire the hardware to store their information; meaning they must have an in-house server. If a company does not use a server in residence than they use the internet to synchronize and save their data. This means all of that bulky hardware does not need to be lying around the office.1
Another difference is that local storage does not have as much accessibility to information as the Cloud does. This is because the latter allows you to reach your information anytime, anywhere as long as you have an Internet connection and security authorization. 1
Examples of the Cloud
The Cloud is a common storage device, but many of us take it for granted. Some examples will make you realize that you and your company would not be able to run smoothly without these Cloud-based websites.
Google has taken the cloud by storm with their completely online-based apps. To name some of the most used, there is Google Docs, Google Sheets, Google Slides, and plenty more. All of these apps rely on the Cloud to store information on Google servers. 1
It is easy to forget that all social networking sites are located in the Cloud. When we share information with friends, we are also sharing the same information with the service since we are using their servers. 
Email sites such as Gmail, Hotmail, Windows Live Mail, and Yahoo are great examples of Cloud computing. We can access email updates, on our phones, on our laptops, and on any company computer. It is as if our email follows us wherever we go when really it is just the Cloud’s exceptional accessibility at work. 2
Instead of keeping a single list of when everyone’s birthday is on our hard drive, we can use free services such as Syncplicity and Dropbox, or pay a minimal price for JungleDisk and Mozy to keep an extra copy in the Cloud. 2
Banking and Financial Services
Before, if we wanted to check our bank account we needed to go to an ATM or the bank itself. Now, we can continue to sit and relax, while checking our account balance or tax records on our smart-phones. 2
The Cloud and Business
Now, you probably enjoy hearing about the benefits of the Cloud but are wondering how you would make the switch to the cloud. This is actually extremely simple: you need to move all of your company’s applications and storage on the hard drive to a private Cloud. (With an IT’s help of course). A private Cloud is separate from a public Cloud because it makes you pay for its service. There are three types of clouds that companies tend to use. 
SaaS is a subscription based use of an outside computer that is owned and operated by others. These distant computers connect to a company’s computer through the Internet and can be located via, the web browser. Software as a Service is quick to start, gains space for your usage needs, and is a backup in case your computer crashes. 3
- 2) Platform as a Service (PaaS)
PaaS uses middleware, a fancy term for a bridge between an OS or database to a company’s applications. Platform as a Service allows a company to send applications to both the public and private cloud, and most important, a company can custom make applications for their workplace to use. 3
- Infrastructure as a Service (IaaS)
IaaS is when a large company, such as Google or Amazon, essentially lends or rents out computing resources on a pay-per-use basis. The owner and provider manages the infrastructure in order for a customer to use their servers, networking, storage, and data center space. 3
The IT world is changing. However, you will now be in the know when you hear a family friend or even a business partner discuss server to cloud migration. Yet sometimes the move is not easy, and Total Computer Solutions knows that. We offer Cloud services and Cloud consultation if you are on the fence about making a full migration or if you are unsure if your company is fit for such an adjustment.
 Eric Griffith, “What is Cloud Computing?,” PCMag, May 3, 2016, Accessed January 25, 2017, http://www.pcmag.com/article2/0,2817,2372163,00.asp
 “Cloud Computing,” UNC, Accessed January 25, 2017, https://www.unc.edu/courses/2010spring/law/357c/001/cloudcomputing/examples.html
 “What is Cloud Computing?,” IBM, Accessed January 25, 2017, https://www.ibm.com/cloud-computing/learn-more/what-is-cloud-computing/