Too Embarrassed to Ask: What Exactly Are Cloud Services?
The tech industry loves to use buzzwords. The problem is that sometimes these terms don’t make it clear what they actually mean. “The cloud” is one of those terms. That’s why we wanted to explain what exactly cloud services are.
Your data is in the cloud. Your data isn’t actually in the sky or the wind. It has an earthly home. It’s stored somewhere — lots of places actually — and the network of servers find what you need and deliver it directly to you.
The cloud refers to software and services that run on the Internet, instead of on your computer. Most cloud services can be accessed through a web browser.
Some examples of cloud services include:
Microsoft Office 365 which provides online versions of Word, Excel, PowerPoint and OneNote, along with Web-based email, a chat platform, voicemail, video conferencing and SharePoint.
Azure Cloud Platform which includes Windows Virtual Machines, Managed Disks for premium, secured disk storage, and SQL Databases; Bandwidth (Data Transfer) which allows movement of data inbound and outbound through a robust network of global data centers; App Services to create, deploy and power applications; Active Directory to enable one-click sign-in to any cloud or on-premises web app for secured identity and access management.
The advantage of the cloud is that you can access your information on any device with an Internet connection. Colleagues can even collaborate on the same document.
Storage lets you store and view your files, without fear of maxing out your laptop or smartphone’s internal storage.
Another benefit of the cloud is that, because the remote servers handle much of the computing and storage, you don’t necessarily need an expensive, high-end machine to get your work done. You can have a less powerful device because the cloud is doing the hard work for you.
There is also protection in the cloud. Your data is being stored multiple times and synced, so that if there happens to be a device failure — a different copy of your data will be retrieved. You don’t have to worry about data loss or replacing equipment.