My last post explored my favorite cloud computing companies such as: Dropbox and Google Drive, but many people are still asking, “What is it and is it safe?”. This post is dedicated to helping you understand what the Cloud is and whether or not it is actually secure or not.
Here we go.
Imagine you have a security box at your local bank. You can visit the bank and access your box with a key that only you have. You can visit your box anytime you want within bank hours and from the privacy of a windowless room. You can store almost anything in this box, given that it will fit inside the physical space of the box.
Now imagine that you are working on a top secret project such as the blueprints to some secret new invention and you want to store it in your security box so no one can steal it. First you have to get to the
bank via some sort of transportation. Then you have to get out your key (if you haven’t lost it) and access the box. Finally you can seal your box and drive home, knowing that your top secret documents are safe and sound.
Now imagine that your security box is the cloud, your key is your password, and the bank is the website that hosts the cloud you are using.
Makes a little more sense now doesn’t it?
The key differences are these:
- With the Cloud we are speaking in terms of digital files, not physical papers, books, financial records, etc. (Anything you have on your computer can be stored in the cloud.)
- With the Cloud you have 24/7 access from any computer or device connected to the internet, anywhere in the world.
- You don’t have to physically go anywhere to deposit your files, given that you have access to the internet.
- Your cloud may not be in a vault like the bank has, but rest assured, most companies have servers so secure it would take one of those hackers from CSI to break in. (We all know how realistic those shows are…not very.)
- Finally, you’re not limited to the physical space of a box, but instead, digital space. The good news is that most companies provide a small amount of cloud space for free and allow you to purchase more at a fee.
I hope this helps understand more about what the cloud is. If you have any other analogies that better illustrate the cloud, drop me a line at firstname.lastname@example.org or leave a comment for everyone else to read.