Cloud Computing: 5 Terms You Should Know

By now you’ve probably heard at least a little bit about cloud computing. It’s the next generation of internet use, basically giving you the ability to store your data and software online and then access them from anywhere in the world. As long as you have a solid broadband connection and an internet-enabled device you’ll never have to print or email documents again. You’ll save up serious hard drive space on your home and work computers, never again stress over forgetting an important file before a business trip and eventually send that filing cabinet out to the recycling center. Cloud computing is only going to become more popular as the years pass and the services improve, so now’s the time to get familiar with the next evolution in data management. Here are five of the terms you should know to help navigate cloud computing.

The first term describes the initial way most consumers explore this new service, and that’s through cloud storage. Cloud storage is usually hosted by a cloud computing provider service, and is the most basic product level. It’s essentially exactly what it sounds like, data storage in the cloud. That means your data is managed and copied for a back up in some remote location. You designate the users who will have access to the storage, and then tap into it as necessary through a password-protected network. There are several different types of cloud storage, so ask the third party you approach about the specifics before you sign up.

If you choose to go the cloud storage route you will inevitably become familiar with cloud migration. This term describes the process of moving all of your digital data from a physical storage device, such as your computer or an external hard drive, onto your cloud storage service. You can migrate individual files, whole folders, applications and even other computing services, all through an easy-to-use desktop interface. The reputable cloud computing providers have an incredibly robust security service in place, so your data should be protected even during the transition.

Before you get to moving data, you are going to have to decide between private or public cloud services. The difference is immense, both in expense and in the amount of on site technical support you must have. Private cloud computing basically means you have a dedicated cloud server set up behind a firewall. This is preferable if you have a mid-sized business that deals with industry secrets or significant amounts of customer financial information and you don’t want anyone outside of the company to have access. Most users go with a public cloud service, which means you are uploading onto a shared server that the cloud computing company manages on your behalf.

Speaking of managing the process, you should get familiar with the term cloud management. This basically refers to every tool you will receive to help make sure you can manage and track your cloud computing service. Cloud management often includes a software bundle that gives you the ability to keep tabs on the performance of your service and step in to recover data that might have been recovered. As cloud computing expands, the slate of available cloud management assets will only increase.

Finally, you’ll absolutely want to take advantage of SaaS, also known as Software as a Service. This is one of the coolest parts of working with cloud computing providers. You can essentially store and use any applications on your computer through your cloud service. You no longer have to house them on your hard drive, which means you can access expensive applications with limited licenses from anyone’s device, as long as you can log in to your cloud computing service. You’ll also enjoy automatic updates, and no more waiting for discs to come in the mail.

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