I’m sure you’ve heard of “The Cloud” being referenced at one time or another. Know what that is? Let me tell you what they mean when they refer to “The Cloud”, and then I’ll tell you why it’s cool.
Basically, “The Cloud” is just another term for the Internet. Let’s use the simplest example: your personal email. So you’re using Gmail or Yahoo Mail or Hotmail, and you’re logging into a website (Gmail.com, Yahoo.com or Hotmail.com) to get to your mail. I’m sure that you’re aware that the email you’re reading isn’t sitting on the device that you’re using. It’s sitting on a server at Google or Microsoft or Yahoo. Accessing “The Cloud” means accessing a service that you connect to via the Internet … it isn’t physically connected to your PC. This can be email, or it can be an application like Google Docs or Office 365.
Why is this cool? Well, for email it means that you can access your email from any device you can get your hands on, as long as it has an Internet connection and a browser that will be able to handle however they designed their email interface. For applications, it means that you won’t have to install a rather large application on your PC; since it’s in “The Cloud”, you can access it from any PC that has an internet connection, and it’s always up-to-date. And now, Google, Microsoft and some other companies offer storage in “The Cloud” for things other than email. It’s not as much space as you have on your PC (it is free, after all), but it’s plenty big for quite a few pictures, documents, music, etc. that you’d like to be able to access on the go. I have my resume on Google Drive (that’s Google’s cloud storage), and if I’m out somewhere and someone wants it, I can access Google Drive from my cellphone or someone’s PC and email it to them.
Also, there are companies like Carbonite that offer cloud-based backup for your PC for a fee. This means if something REALLY bad happens, like your computer is stolen or there a fire and your data is lost, once you’ve replaced your machine you can access and download that important data from them. Pictures, documents … some things just aren’t replaceable.
Oh … that reminds me … you ARE doing back-ups, aren’t you? Weekly maybe? Every other week? To an external storage device? Hmmmmmmm?????
Carrying around a USB thumb drive is something I’ve done since they’ve come into existence, but I don’t always have a PC to stick the thing into to get what I need. The Cloud is your friend. Embrace it. Here are some of the free ones that you can use on your PC, smart phone or tablet:
If you want to do off-site backup for your PC, there are many, but Carbonite is the one that I’m most familiar with. You can do an Internet search for others.
Talk you you soon!