There’s a lot of hype surrounding cloud technology. The “power of the cloud” has become a PR buzzword for just about any product or service that leverages Internet connectivity and some that don’t. Your video games run smoother because of the cloud, your files are more secure because of the cloud, and your laptop is lighter because of the cloud.

But what does it all mean? Like an actual cloud, the cloud is distant, unformed and challenging to grasp or describe. What one person sees in a cloud is different from the next. Remember the childhood game where one person would see a distinct elephant shape in a puffy overhead cloud while another would swear it certainly looked more like a poodle?

The same applies for the technical cloud as well. It seems no one has a true grasp of what it is or what it means, they just know they use it. Many people don’t even know why or how they use it.

So let’s try to clear things up and make the cloud less cloudy, so to speak.

What Exactly is the Cloud?

The term “the cloud” is a metaphor used to collectively describe all of the data that is being exchanged through the air. In the early days of computing, data had to be input or stored onsite, in a hard drive or server. In the early days of the Internet, data was shared through physical phone lines, so in order to access data in another location, your computer had to make a physical connection to that location. With the cloud, that physical connection is no longer necessary. Your devices can now access data stored elsewhere instantly, with no connection or physical data input.

While the metaphor of “the cloud” is pretty new, the concept of sharing and accessing data in this manner has been around for quite some time. It has been in use in the public since the early 1990’s, and its roots can be traced back all the way to the 1950’s.

The part that many people neglect to focus on, however, is that now that so much data is stored in the cloud, access to that data is both vitally important and ever so hard when that access goes down.

Why Should I Care?

Well, because you use the cloud every day, whether you know it or not. When you check your Facebook or twitter on your phone, you are using the cloud. When you upload or watch a YouTube video or binge the latest season of a show on Netflix, you are using the cloud. Most of today’s modern technology is built upon a Cloud-based infrastructure.

But what is most exciting about cloud technology is it’s positive impact on the business world. In a recent survey published on eWeek, business owners and organizations are seeing increased productivity and reductions in costs. The survey also indicated that by 2024, over 50% of businesses with more than 500 employees will move to offsite storage. This is even more important for smaller companies that may not have the budget or space for on-site servers.

I expect that cloud usage will increase even quicker than that. Cloud storage has allowed for greater connectivity and collaboration between members of a team, and businesses are rapidly taking advantage of the many options cloud computing offers.

Cloud computing is a difficult concept to grasp. Do a simple Google news search and you’ll see lots of hype and buzz, but look beyond that and you’ll realize that the hype is warranted. Cloud computing has already changed the way we communicate and do business, and it is only just getting started.

Let an Allied professional show you how to make your access to the cloud Always On!