cloud2Do you remember the days of floppy disks?  Then we moved on to CDs and USB flash drives.  How many times did you have to search for the correct CD or Flash Drive…and sometimes never did find it?  What if there was a better way to move or share data from one device to another?  That’s where the Cloud comes in.

The Cloud is the latest expansion of the internet and provides a method to access or share files from anywhere.  There is no physical object that you can look at or point to and say it’s the cloud.  It’s not a piece of hardware that you keep on your desk or with your computer.  It is really a structure of many computers or servers which provide you access through a network connection, usually the Internet, to store or access your data.

So, what’s the difference between the Cloud and the Internet?  Well, there’s not really much difference.  Referring to the Cloud is usually just a reference to one small piece of the entire Internet.

Google was an early provider of Cloud services with Google Docs.  Google Docs is basically space on their servers, designated to the subscriber, used for storing documents, photos, etc.  Storing documents here allows you to log in from any computer and access your files.

Many other companies have followed suit and offer the same Cloud services.  Dropbox is a growing in popularity and one I recommend using.  Dropbox works like another folder on your computer.  The only difference is that files or folders inside the Dropbox folder get synchronized on Dropbox’s servers (instead of your computer’s hard drive) or any other computer that is linked to your account.  You designate who has access to your Dropbox.  There is no charge for users that want up to 2GB of space and you can purchase more space as needed.

Obviously there are a lot of Cloud services to choose from and you’ll want to do your own research to see which will work best for your needs.

Cloud services eliminate the need to email files that you want or need to access elsewhere.  No longer is it necessary to carry and risk losing CDs or Flash Drives so you can share them or access them on another computer.  Cloud services allow you the ability to access and share files on any device with a network drive (i.e., tablet, mobile phone) anytime, anywhere.   It’s the latest, greatest expansion of the internet that works to save time and keep data accessible when we need it.