What actually is “The Cloud”?

What actually is “The Cloud”?

In the world of modern technology, the term “Cloud” often brings to mind “Cloud Storage” and chances are, you’ll have heard of services such as Google Drive, iCloud, Dropbox and Creative Cloud many times. So what actually is “The Cloud” and “Cloud Storage”?

The tech industry loves to use buzzwords like Internet of Things, Mobile Data and 5G and generally speaking, none of them make it easy for the average consumer to really understand what they mean. As a matter of fact, The Cloud is really just a really well-known metaphor.  You won’t be shocked to hear that when the term is used in terms of technology, The Cloud doesn’t refer to one big fluffy thing in the sky.

An example of a server room. Each block is one huge cluster of really expensive computers.

Let’s start from the beginning… The internet basically consists of loads of computers that are all connected to each other. These computers include yours, like the one you’re reading this article on right now, as well as computers that store all of the websites on the internet – we call these ones “servers”. With this explained, “Cloud Storage” is a really simple concept; you upload your files to a server and then you can access it on any device across the world that has internet with no need to carry around memory sticks or any other physical device.

The main advantage of the cloud is that because you can access the files you upload on any device with an Internet connection, you can make edits to a file in Google Docs on your home computer, and then pick up where you left off when you get to work at the office, and in fact, your colleagues can even access the document at the same time as you and help you to write/edit it at the same time on their computer too!

Businesses, over the past few years, have been moving their storage over to the cloud for these exact reasons. As a result, for certain Council’s across the United Kingdom, some employees now have the option to work out of the office on a portable laptop which is also connected to the cloud. This comes with great financial benefits to the companies as they no longer have to have a room, or sometimes an entire floor of their building, dedicated just for top of the range servers; instead they can pay a monthly fee to a service provider and get the same amount of storage for much cheaper, with less maintenance costs.