You have heard it mentioned by your friends, coworkers, on TV, “oh, just save it to your cloud”, “is it backed up on the cloud?” and you’ve been too embarrassed to ask…what is this infamous “cloud” everyone seems to know about?

Well, the cloud is really just the internet. If you have used Facebook, Yahoo, or Gmail, then you have used the cloud. The cloud or cloud computing is a collection of hardware, software, networks, storage services, and services (Facebook, Gmail) kept in remote locations. Apple’s iCloud, for example, is a huge server farm in North Carolina. If you are used to running your software programs on your personal computer, well, that all changes with the cloud. When your programs, email, photos, and documents reside on remote servers (cloud storage), you can access them from anywhere.


Advantages of the Cloud

Besides being able to access your information from anywhere, you can access it on multiple devices. For example, I received a Kindle Fire for Christmas and to me, it is magic. I can download a book in seconds, start reading it and then turn it off. A few hours later, as I sit waiting in the doctor’s office, I remember that book and open my Kindle app on my phone and there is my book, open to the page I was on when I left. Now tell me that isn’t magic. Another advantage is that all your documents, music files, videos, and photos are all backed up on the cloud servers, so you don’t need to worry about losing them.


Concerns of the Cloud

Since these files are stored remotely, you must have an internet connection to access them.  Accessing your files, photos, and music takes bandwidth, but not very much. What you really have to watch out for are streaming movies and video games. Both of these use a lot of bandwidth, so you may go through your allocated amount of data very quickly and then incur extra charges.