The Cloud: More Than Just A Buzzword
Believe it or not, the idea of cloud computing has been around since the 1950s. Only in the last few years has it really taken off and made use of new applications of its consumer capabilities. Large, centralized, mainframe systems are "out;" personalized, power-to-the-people, DIY applications are "in."
In the simplest terms, cloud computing means storing and accessing data and programs over the Internet rather than your computer's hard drive. The end result is the same: with an online connection, cloud computing can be done anywhere and anytime, thereby creating more opportunities for flexible and mobile workspaces.
Most of us use cloud computing all day long without even realizing it. We use it when we use social media, check our email, or do our banking – cloud applications are everywhere!
Once upon a time, email was something you could only send and receive using a mail client from your computer. Web-based services such as Hotmail and Gmail came along and carried email off into the cloud. Now, emails can be stored, processed and easily accessible from a Web browser. Web-based email makes it extremely convenient for people to access their email wherever they might be.
File Storage And Sharing
Cloud technology offers the ability to store, edit and share your files from any web-enabled interface – from anywhere in the world. With applications such as Dropbox and Google Drive, you can configure certain folders in your cloud storage as “Public” folders, or share individual files with specific users by sending a link. This allows you to share your files with friends, or even host them as if they were on public server. There is no longer a need to fiddle around with your typical public photo-uploading or file-hosting services, eliminating the dreaded error: “message exceeds size limit”.
Cloud technology provides a collaboration of various communication tools and apps as well as access to documents to all members on your team. In the past, collaboration on a project used to involve countless telephone calls, emails, and text messages exchanged between employees. Using applications like Google Docs, Salesforce and Cisco WebEx, allows a team to work together on documents and projects at the same time. Users can make changes to the document at any time, including when employees are viewing and working simultaneously. All changes are saved and synced together so every user sees the same version of the project. Cloud collaboration creates an efficient online workspace for all team members in different cities, countries and time zones.
Last but not least – social media! Social networks have become an excellent platform for communicating, sharing content, and reinforcing both business and real world relationships. Networks such as Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, Instagram, and countless others make it easy for people to share information and form connections. Most social media platforms have built-in analytics which allow businesses to understand where, when and how people use and purchase goods and services. This data allows businesses to adjust their positioning and better connect with their existing and potential customers.
With the continued progression of technology, who knows where the future of ‘the cloud’ will end up? The sky's the limit!