Apache Authors: Liz McMillan, Carmen Gonzalez, Elizabeth White, Pat Romanski, Christopher Harrold

Related Topics: @CloudExpo, Apache, Cloud Security

@CloudExpo: Article

Why Use the Cloud?

How often has your computer started to run slow because it was running out of memory or hard drive space?

When the cloud first came out, there were the usual skeptics. "Why would I need a virtual storage when I have my computer right here?" they would ask. Truth be told, if you can access your stored data by just opening a folder or plugging in a USB drive, why go through the toll of going online, logging in, and then downloading the files you want, which could take a while if your internet is subpar? That sounds like reason enough not to get one. However, there are plenty of positives worth considering as well, and these can outweigh the cons of slow internet speed by a long shot.

Lost Data
First and foremost, the biggest reason the cloud was made was to help people store their data and recover it if something were to happen to their computer. Google was the first to get on board with this idea by not only having cloud backup like Carbonite, the original cloud backup service, but actually designing a laptop and an operating system made specifically to always keep in-sync with your own personal cloud. Anywhere you went, your files were available to you as long as you had access to a computer or mobile device and an internet connection.

Now, tons of companies are jumping on the bandwagon, providing services with cloud storage that can sync and backup whenever you want it to. This keeps your files safe in case something were to happen, such as a virus, spilling coffee, or a temper tantrum. No matter what happens, you can log into your personal cloud and recover the data you need. These days, there are even programs available that can host files for you to be shared with whomever you wish and that keep the files synced on your personal computer.

Storage Space
How often has your computer started to run slow because it was running out of memory or hard drive space? Although the former happens more often, a lack of storage space on a computer can also cause some problems. You may be thinking, "No problem, I'll just buy an external hard drive." What do you do, though, when that fills up too? You'll need to make the hard choice of deleting what could be sensitive data.

With the cloud, that instance is rare if it ever happens. You don't need to worry about what files to keep and which ones to delete. You can make sure you have all your bases covered by maintaining virtual storage and an external drive. These two really complement one another, and they can both act as a backup and as extra space for data files.

Data Expansion
This is riding on the coat tails of storage space a bit, but let's say you don't use your computer for much. You listen to music, play a few games, and maybe work on a few projects. Heck, many of us have papers to write, presentations to compile, or any number of other small computer-related tasks. Some of these assignments you may not need in the future, though it's always good practice to hold onto things for later reference. But what about things like your ever expanding music library, those e-books you want to read, or that family photo album on your computer that's filled with vacations, holidays, and memories? These are things you can't just delete, and why would you? If you have a cloud, you'll always have it saved somewhere safe and never have to worry about losing it to a computer crash.

Cloud Protection
It's always important to have a security system in place on any computer but even more so when you're using the cloud. Storing your information virtually where you can access it with a password makes it easier for hackers to access it. So making sure your computer is free from malware and spyware is extremely important. Pick up some antivirus or anti malware if you don't have any already.

More Stories By Roscoe Smith

Roscoe is a cloud computing expert. In the field since it came to be, he enjoys informing others of this great storage alternative.

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