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What is “the Cloud”? Cloud computing explained

cloudJust like the world wide web and the internet, “the cloud” is a popular computing buzzword. We use it quite freely in these blog posts, and Norman even has its own “cloud” backup solution. But what actually is it, and what does “the cloud” mean? Read on to find out.

Firstly, there are no actual clouds involved, in fact, mixing masses of water vapour with computer equipment is generally considered a bad idea.

In computing, “the cloud” refers to an innumerable number of computers connected to the internet, that you can access but will never physically see – unless you take a rather boring holiday to a server facility. These remote computers are the workhorses of the internet, storing our data for us to access from anywhere.

Take your email account for example. If you use Gmail, Yahoo or Hotmail, all of your emails are being stored somewhere else – you simply login to access them. Technically, that means they’re “cloud” email services, even if you don’t ever hear them referred to as such.

It’s the same with photo storage websites. Whether your pictures are on Facebook or Flickr, they live “in the cloud”. Those pictures can also exist on your computer – as normal image files – but because your computer is local to you, it doesn’t count as being part of “the cloud”.

In short, “the cloud” is pretty much everywhere and everything on the internet that stores something that you want to access. You can access the cloud via your computer or your mobile phone.

“Cloud computing” is just an extension of the above. It just means using a computer to access things stored on the cloud. That’s not too difficult, right?

One of the most popular uses for cloud technology is for online backups – like Norman Personal backup. These services make a secure copy of your files in the cloud so that if anything happens to your computer, you’ll be able to access your important documents and pictures.

Norman Personal backup also allows you to access your cloud information, so you can open up your files from any other computer if you have the correct log-in details.

Cloud backup services are becoming increasingly popular because they make it so much easier to make secure copies of your files. Previously, you would have to manually choose which files to back-up and put them on an external hard drive or USB stick. Cloud solutions simply the process by automatically and regularly making copies of key files and folders, so you won’t even have to think about maintaining your version.

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One Response to What is “the Cloud”? Cloud computing explained

  1. Caryl Anne says:

    Excellent article! The post definitely provided great information and insight into what cloud computing is and why it’s needed within this time era. Thanks for sharing!

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