What Is Cloud Computing?

Friday, September 25th, 2015

What is cloud computing? TechTarget provides a great definition in the 2013 TechTarget’s Essential GuideCloud computing is a general term for the delivery of hosted services over the Internet.

Cloud computing is storing your files in a place that is not your local hard drive. Rather, cloud computing allows you to store a file you can access from anywhere, at any time, by any device. There isn’t “a” cloud or “the” cloud – it’s a bunch of services. A lot of data, and we mean A LOT, is already stored in these services. It’s not a new technology—it’s well established and it isn’t going away.

You might not even have realized that you have been using a cloud-based service the whole time! Your email is a great example of a cloud-based service. If you order items from Amazon, you’re doing so in Amazon’s cloud service. If you use a cloud-based travel site, such as Expedia, Kayak, or Travelocity, to book a flight, you can use your smartphone or tablet at a later time to view your itinerary.

Other examples of cloud services include Google Drive, iCloud, and Microsoft OneDrive. Files stored on these cloud services are automatically backed up.

All these cloud services are separate from one another—there is no single access approach to viewing everything you have stored in your clouds. Whoever invents an app for that, will make beaucoup bucks.

One of the most important considerations when using cloud services is the security of your data. Among the many risks are data breach, data loss through malicious hacking or a careless cloud service provider, account or service traffic hijacking (where an attacker gains access to credentials and then eavesdrops on activities and transactions in order to manipulate data) and malicious insiders or business partners who gain access to a network system.

There are many more scenarios that may place your data in danger. For more details, go to cloudsecurityalliance.org. Having said all this, one should remember that a lot of data is at risk because of weak password configuration and protection. To minimize security risk, choose passwords that are lengthy in letters and do not repeat passwords across multiple services. 


Susan Struthers

OGT, Director of eLearning