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But… What is The Cloud?

Tom Lambert
CandidSky’s Co-founder and Technical Director. Tom has a passion for innovation and problem solving.

June 26, 2011

2 minute read

I get asked this question a lot, so I thought I’d write a series of blogs looking at how businesses can benefit from using cloud computing.

Cloud Computing Blog Series
1. But… What is the Cloud? (this blog)
2. So how can I make the best use of The Cloud?

What Cloud Computing?

Cloud Computing allows you to access programs and information that don’t sit on your computer. So accessing software, applications or data that live on a computer somewhere else in the world. For example if you have ever used Hotmail or Gmail, then you have made use of cloud computing. Because the emails (data) and the email reader (software) that you’re using are located on a server somewhere on the internet, this enables you to access this service from any device that has an internet connection. For example Ipad’s, Iphones, Laptops and Desktop PC’s no matter where they are located in the world.

The applications for the cloud are increasing all the time. Already you can documents, videos, photos, emails and contact details in cloud based programs. But there are lots of benefits to storing and accessing files in this way, which I will explain in these blogs.

The Past

The best way to explain the benefits is to look at where we’ve come from…A few years back when networks were in their infancy, the best technology that companies could get their hands on would need to be based inside their own offices. So for bigger companies this was huge servers that would connect their computers together and serve emails, shared files and software in a closed network. For smaller companies it meant using software on a single machine and syncing that to the internet to pull down files and emails from the internet for a short time, then re-uploading them when they were finished. A good example of this is the way that email clients such as Microsoft Outlook download batches of emails from the internet onto a local computer.

There are problems with this approach in that only one user can access a file at a single time and these files can only be accessed on the computer they are stored on. In short, if that computer died, so did all the emails, data and software, photos of loved ones, that vital spreadsheet you’ve been working on, etc.

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