Unless you’ve been living in a cave for the last decade, you will have almost undoubtedly heard the term, ‘the cloud’ at some point. Cloud computing has been heralded by many as the next great frontier of computers and promises a world of exciting new and useful services for businesses and individuals like – but just what is cloud computing and how could it (or does it) benefit you?
Cloud 101 – a beginner’s guide to cloud computing
The term, ‘cloud computing’ essentially refers to any computing service that is performed remotely and typically delivered over the internet to subscribers – normally on a pay-as-you-go, ad hoc basis. While the concept might at first seem a little unfamiliar and otherworldly, in truth, you likely already use some form of cloud tech in your personal or business life.
Platforms like Gmail, Google Photos, Spotify and Netflix all rely on the tremendous power of the cloud to deliver their services to consumers all around the world, vastly increasing the virtual storage capacity of our devices and increasing the range of tasks they can perform.
For example, if you use Google Photos, you’ll have no doubt been prompted to auto-enhance a photo from time to time (a service performed by Artificial Intelligence (AI) scanning for defects in pictures). You also likely use the platform’s backup facility to transfer photos and store them remotely, thereby freeing valuable space on your local device. Both of these functions happen remotely, powered by Google’s gigantic servers that are vastly more powerful and capacious than the handheld device you used to take the original photo.
By leveraging this remote power, services like Google Photos (and many, many others) can supplement the basic processing you have to hand in your mobile device and supercharge it over the internet – with the required storage space and processing grunt handled by their supercomputers.
How the cloud is transforming business
Not so very long ago, companies looking to have even very basic IT integration had to invest considerable sums in costly hardware and software to install internal networks – and the costs didn’t stop there. Once set up, networks require maintenance, upgrades, security provision and constant monitoring. In many cases, these costs were prohibitively expensive, particularly for small to medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) that form the backbone of most economies globally.
However, by partnering with a professional cloud computing firm and leasing cutting-edge tech, even the smallest of companies can now compete side by side with the biggest multinationals in terms of their IT services. Cloud computing has leveled the networking playing field, giving previously unimaginable opportunities to companies of all sizes.
How connection speeds and cloud services coexist
In truth, there’s nothing particularly new about the basic premise of cloud storage – after all, websites have been remotely hosted for years already. However, cloud computing moves things up a gear considerably by also introducing remote processing into the equation. This has only been made possible by considerable advances in server tech coupled with the all-important connection speeds. Cloud computing simply wasn’t possible without faster fixed-line and mobile connections (including the new 5G services that are being rolled out)
Our always-on, always-connected society demands immediacy in everything we do – and that sense of urgency can only be satiated with faster connections.