Over the last few years, much has been made about the potential of cloud technology and how it could represent a new frontier in computing. As more and more companies migrate their IT services to cloud providers, the sector has become one of the fastest-growing areas of the entire IT industry – but just what is the cloud and how can it benefit both companies and individuals?
The cloud – a simple definition
In essence, the term ‘the cloud’ can be thought of as any computing service that is handled remotely and delivered to clients, usually over the internet. Thus, cloud tech can be used for anything from storage to running apps or processing complex computing operations remotely – normally the kind of functions that are far beyond the scope of the local device.
Cloud services are often delivered in the form of subscription packages – particularly in business cloud computing – which can be upgraded or downgraded with ease and give companies greater agility when it comes to managing their IT provision. In addition, by relying on support from technicians with azure certification or similar, changes to the size and scope of digital services can be made at the touch of a button, improving the ability of firms to react to changing circumstances and market conditions.
However, while the cloud may sound as though it’s just the preserve of big corporations, its effects have been wide-ranging across all areas of society. Indeed, even if you aren’t aware of it, it’s highly likely you already use several cloud-based applications daily.
Examples of services you possibly didn’t know were cloud-based
In recent years, companies big and small in all sectors have migrated en masse to cloud tech as a way to speed up and improve their services. In fact, in some cases, these platforms wouldn’t exist were it not for the cloud. Below are just a few examples of platforms and services that rely on cloud-based technologies:
Online email services: If you use an online email service like Gmail, you’re actually logging into a cloud server to send and retrieve mail. This allows users to be able to search back through months – even years – of emails, all stored remotely.
Photo storage and editing apps: With the ubiquitous rise of mobile devices and phones, we’re taking more photos today than at any point in history. However, like our desire for ever-smaller gadgets persists, it’s simply not feasible to store all these photos locally – hence the rise in popularity of photo storage apps like Google Photos. Instead, these applications rely almost entirely on the remote capacity and processing power of dedicated servers for saving photos – as well as Artificial Intelligence (AI) systems to allow for retouching and editing tasks.
Social media: Any social media app that allows you to log in on different machines (for example, on your cell phone, laptop or desktop) will be cloud-based. Apps like Facebook, LinkedIn, and Twitter make extensive use of cloud computing tech.
Streaming email services: Applications like Spotify and Netflix use cloud tech to deliver their vast swathes of content to users over the internet via streaming, thereby removing the need for users to store the files locally.
File-sharing and backup storage apps: Popular services like Dropbox and Google Drive use cloud storage to store and transfer files between users.