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Its quite possible that you would keep hearing the word “cloud” in every other casual conversations, debates or discussions if you belong to the IT Industry. And presuming you are from the IT industry, I don’t feel the need to elaborate on what it is, something which thousands of bloggers have done already. However, if you are newbie to this industry or belong a different one, you may want to take a minute to read what cloud computing means before proceeding. There are different types of cloud computing services available. Organizations choose the one which suits their needs. As should you.
Now that you know what cloud computing means and get the basic idea, you know why it happens to be one of the most talked about subjects today. Its not just another technology which is only exclusively used by the multinational companies in silicon valley serving other medium to large scale companies. Its a technology which is just as meaningful for users like you and me who simply need something which helps us make our work and lives easier and less tedious. However, it should be noted that the goals of those company too remains the same; to make our lives and work easier.
Cloud too has it down disadvantages as well, but its not my place to decide whether the advantages outweigh the disadvantages or vice-versa. Cloud computing is a whole new vertical with a lot of branches of its own. You may work in the cloud arena for years and still find something new to learn. If you are in it, you have to keep yourself updated on its latest advancements to face the new challenges. So lets move on to why you should probably get on this train. Here are 6 main reasons why you should probably start using the cloud services:
1. Ease of use
People may be very liberal with the term “Ease of use” when referring to any technology, but I daresay, it is indeed true when it comes to using cloud. For a casual user, clicking some quick photos while traveling and storing it on the cloud, sharing it with anyone they wish to share with by simply providing a link to the data is one such feature. For a corporate user, it can be collaborating on a very important and confidential document with other employees or clients around the globe, keeping everyone in the loop thus increasing the work productivity. This is a very small example of how the cloud can serve just as efficiently to everyone, be it a regular user or corporate employee .
2. Say goodbye to thumb drives, external drives and DVD’s
Courtesy of the eve-growing competition among the industries, we now have access to numerous cloud based storages, offered by companies in the big league (the Microsofts and Googles), to the latest startup companies from various countries who strive equally hard to provide just as good or in few cases even better services in some aspects. Many of these services are in fact free for all the users up to a certain limit, post which premium accounts are required. However, with so many storage options out there, many a times free accounts does the job. In fact, only recently we created a round-up list of 12 such services which offer cloud storage options. Some focus on storage, while some on security, some on more features. It would be god idea to refer to the list you are looking for an alternate storage.
The point being, with so many services available, you would not need to travel anywhere carrying those small thumb drives, external hard drives or DVD’s. All you require is an active internet connection and you are good to go. Also, almost all the cloud storages also have an Android, iOS, Windows and Blackberry app, which even allow to not only view your data but even edit/modify it on the go. Once again, an active internet connection is required.
3. No software application setup required
In the corporate world, this is a huge benefit for the employers and employees. Since the application is internet based, the employee can access the application from anywhere depending on the company policies obviously. No need to call the IT guy or the helpdesk to install the application. The cloud based applications already has pre-defined settings and permissions set, no hassles. For the casual users, there are some free and paid cloud based applications which can be as good as the installed software. For instance, the most common and widely used cloud based application would be the office suite. Enterprises mostly use Office 365 which is paid application. If you wish to use similar office suite on the go, there are some alternatives available which you should definitely check. And similar to cloud storage applications, these too have mobile based applications available. You can edit the documents while traveling in Bus or Train, and once you reach home/work, you simply continue from where you left off.
4. All services in one place
Cloud based operating systems (also sometimes referred to as Web based OS) offers all services in one place. Cloud based operating systems are very different from your Windows, Linux or Mac. It doesn’t offer a full fledged functionality like you machine. You cannot expect it to play high-end games of softwares. The software applications it offers are very limited. The main objective is to make sure your work doesn’t suffer irrespective to wherever you are in the world.
In a cloud operating system, you can bookmark your favorite websites, use it as RSS feed to check on the latest news and information, save your documents, music and videos all in one place. Since most of our activities on our system nowadays require internet, having a common place to manage all our activities makes complete sense. Jolicloud, a well known Cloud operating system also allows you to install the OS your machine, even its source code is available on GitHub. On the other hand, Eye OS, another cloud OS targets professionals and corporates, unlike other cloud OS you need to contact their team to sign up who then decide whether or not to approve your request.
There are plenty of cloud based operating systems available to use. We hand-picked 8 cloud based operating systems for you with a brief description about each of them and different features they offer. It is not necessary for one particular cloud operating system to cater to everyone’s needs. You can shortlist a few of your own from the already shortlisted list and decide on one which would serve you the best.
5. Resources available at demand
Every software application gets upgraded over the time. The developer or the company behind it continuously keep finding and patching the bugs and loopholes, improve existing features, provide new ones. Providing you with the software is not an end of the road of them, its sort of a never-ending cycle. Maintaining the software to help it keep working efficiently and providing you with the support becomes their prime concern thanks to the competition in the market. However, moving to cloud solves this problem for both, the software manufacturers and the users. Everything is done in the background without affecting any of your work.
Since all the services you are using are cloud based, you really don’t need to worry about how fast your processor or RAM is, or for that mater, even the storage space on your machine. Cloud services’ ability to allocate the resources as required is instinctive and spontaneous, and it will never, like the installed application “Hang” or “Freeze” while you are working on something extremely important. Not to forget the fact that it also auto-saves all your work (Most applications), in case you system freezes. You can always back up your data by downloading the files and documents in case the cloud application goes offline or if your internet stops working. At present the cloud based applications available to public are limited to office suites and photo editing. For corporate users, many companies have developed proprietary applications for a specific purpose. Few years down the line, there would definitely be cloud based alternatives available for many more applications.
6. You may miss the train
The pace at which cloud is moving forward, all the information at once may be over-whelming and quite frankly, difficult to keep up with. Not to mention the above mentioned benefits you would be missing out on if you choose to avoid it. Cloud is not only limited to someone working in the IT industry, having some information and knowledge on it could earn some brownie points even if you are in a completely different field of work. Gone are the days when company records and notes were maintained on papers and notebooks (although it still has limited and important use), no industry can work efficiently without using computers and the internet. The hype surrounding cloud computing is no hype, they are simply different views and reviews from those using it. You will find a lot of never-ending discussions on cloud computing in tech forums who discuss its endless possibilities.
Cloud computing models are being readily adopted by most companies as it saves them money and time which helps in increasing employees productivity which in turn helps them to serve their clients and customers better. Ofcourse it not devoid of problems, such as security, which is no secret. However, that should not stop anyone taking a step towards it. Not very many people take enough security measures while using internet, sharing intimate information over social media, blindly downloading over torrents and other websites and live in constant denial believing they will never face a security attack on their machine, but will foolishly deny using cloud services citing security as the main reason. In fact, contrary to how unsecure cloud computing is actually perceived, that really may not be the case. Without being cautious and alert of our own actions, we are at just as much risk using cloud computing as we would be at, while only surfing through the internet.