What is “The cloud”

What is “The cloud”

A quick survey of my relatively non technical friends and family recently came up with quite a lot of blank expressions and the majority of answers were “er, well you know its like, er……….. I don’t really know….. what is it?”

What is the cloud?

Back in the nineties, computer engineers needed a way to indicate things happening elsewhere or things which were to be provided by someone else, like this………..

Basically things that were outside the scope of the discussion or project or somebody’s else’s problem**

Later the same symbol was adopted to indicate the internet or the outside world.

Allegedly, the term was probably first used in an official capacity in a Compaq document around 1996, but it wasn’t until Amazon Web Services launched EC2 in 2006 that the term caught on.

Er, so what is it?

So the cloud is basically the internet, any app or data that is accessed by an internet connection can be said to be in ‘the cloud’.

Do I need the cloud

The short answer is no, not really, although if it is very convenient and nowadays you will be hard pushed to avoid it.

The danger is that you think your important data is backed up or saved in ‘the cloud’ and you don’t realise it’s not until it too late, when you break your phone/tablet/laptop and discover that all your photos/music/first draft of your novel/company accounts are indeed not safe in the cloud.  Another issue is that you may have your important stuff across multiple ‘clouds’ which could be a potential privacy issue, if you don’t know what’s where.

More about this is our next blog post, when we’ll go into more detail about how to check what’s being saved where!

Can I have my own cloud?

Yes you can, in a number of ways……..

If budget is no issue, you can rent your own cloud servers, this is a bit beyond the scope of this article, but if you search ‘rent cloud server’ on your favourite search engine, you will find no end of companies happy to help you out

If your budget is a bit more limited, you still have options:

    1. You could back up to a portable hard drive, like these ones here, like these ones here. This is by far the simplest option.
    2. You could back up to a NAS Drive on your home network, like these ones here, which would give you cloud like features, like being able to access the files on your NAS drive at home from elsewhere in the world, which is very cool, but may not be strictly necessary.
    3. You could back up to a RAID Drive, like these ones here, which have huge storage capacity and can even keep a copy of themselves constantly updated.
  • But more about all of the above in part two, coming soon…………………

    ** According to Douglas Adams in his novel, Life, the Universe and Everything

    An SEP is something we can't see, or don't see, or our brain doesn't let us see, because we think that it's somebody else's problem. That’s what SEP means. Somebody Else’s Problem. The brain just edits it out, it's like a blind spot.
    He goes on further about it, but you'll have to read the book to find out why:) I highly recommend it :) But read book 1 The Hitchhikers Guide to the Galaxy first ;)

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