In general the cloud is the buzz word for an online client-server type relationship where applications or data are accessed remotely. The cloud gets it name from the cloud image symbol used in diagrams to express the relationship between devices, applications, and or services that comunicate with a remote computer or server. This type of computer communication setup has been around for years, it is nothing new. However, it has become a word just about everyone has heard, and it is no longer a strange technological term, but something most of us use daily. The cloud has many benefits and as it grows and develops overtime, there will come a day when there will be only the cloud. All mans knowledge collectively stored, yet strangely disconnected from any one person.
Data kept in the cloud is easy to access from any device that has internet connectivity and will eliminate the use of disks of any kind. You just need to remember to pay your internet bill, data plan and don't forget to pay your cloud bill, or risk losing everything. For corporations the large motivating factor is to stop software piracy, and to generate a consistant monthly, or yearly income stream. Without disks it will be practically impossible to own, or store copies of creative works like music or movies. Of course there are methods to aquire data, but this data such as movies filmed with a screen capture application are never as good as having an original copy on disk. Some consumer applications have already begun the switch, and applications such as Adobe Creative Cloud are proving that the cloud can be very profitable and lower overall piracy. The idea at first was seen as a threat by consumers, they were reluctant to support the idea, yet in the case of Adobe consumers whom wanted disks quickly conceded and became subscribers making Adobe hundreds of millions of dollars per year.
In certain situations not having a disk is a great idea. One example is with video games, and online distribution companies like Steam or Origin. When Steam first came out the gaming community was scepticle and some were totally againt Steam. Steam has become the online gaming distribution company model and they have done a great job of making it easy to buy, and manage you game collection. One of the really nice benefits is your game is updated automatically, and any issues with playback are ussually taken care of so all you have to do is start the game.
Other manufacturess like Origin have been unable to inspire users to like their online distribution service by adding digital rights media. These monitoring applications are built into their store, allowing them to know much more than they ever would need to know about your gamiong useage. By adding built in digital rights management to thier applications Origin confirmed the gamers suspisions about these companies and their practices. This had a negative effect for Origins online store and the backlash has lasted years. However, once there is no other options for buying disks consumers will be forced to consede and use whatever is availble.
The cloud also brings easily available and affordable online backup services that are an option for small to medium sized file backups, but are not as good for very large file collections, or for people with slow internet connections. If your internet is truly high speed than online cloud backup could be an ideal solution. However, security is a big concern and there are subscription fees, and connectivity issues that would need to be considered before committing to any online service. With online backup services if there website goes down you will not be able to access or backup your data. Also, if you cancel your subscription you lose access to your data and cannot recover it, and there is the risk the company could go out of business, and who knows what happens then.
There are a number of advantages to online backup services, you can access your data from anywhere and if disaster strikes you are protected as long as the disaster does not affect the provider. Another benefit is that your data is constantly backed up and can be restored from any computer at any time.
First off I do not condone criminal activity. However, the conspiracy theory of big brother is watching is real. The data you store in the cloud can easily be accessed and read. The reading of the data at this time in which I know of is during the transfer to the cloud. The reading of the data goes to show it can be done and is already an accepted practice. Even though the perpitrators of certain crimes should be stopped, and punished how they are caught using the cloud, demonstrates the access granted by the end user to thier data somewhere in the EULA or end license agreement that most do not read and ignore.
When you send your photos to the cloud every picture is broken down to the pixel. To clarify this when you take a picture of 12 mega pixels there are 12,000,000 individual pixels. These pixels are then read for every detail creating a fingerprint of the overall image. This is good for it intended purpose of catching child pornographers, however, it does clearly state your files are not private and are being viewed by a computer that is capable of catagorizing people based on many factors.
Large corporations are moving quickly to entice consumers away from hard drives and to the cloud. There are exellent examples of how the cloud is good. I use it to provide fire proof backup. My personal photos are stored in the cloud so that I may always have them and need not worry that they could be lost due to disater. My files on the other hand are something entirely different. I have yet to embrace the cloud as a place where all my data is stored.
Often people keep their files on one external drive and they lose everything when it fails. So, it is a good idea to backup your backup. It is also recommended to keep a backup in another location, like a fire proof safe, a safety deposit box, or online in the cloud. No matter which way you choose to backup your data it is always better to be safe than sorry.
If you need more help with the cloud consider calling PCMD we can help you to create, backup, or just teach how to store and access your files on the cloud. The cloud is an easy way to keep your precious data safe and we can help you to get started. Our service area includes Santa Maria, Orcutt, Solvang, Santa Ynez, Buellton, Santa Barbara, Goleta, Nipomo, Arroyo Grande, Pismo Beach, Grover Beach, Oceano, Shell Beach, Lompoc, Los Alamos, and surrounding areas.