Say goodbye to software in a box and setting up storage systems.

“The cloud” is simply the latest name given to services and tools that store data remotely and allow users to access it via the Internet – without downloading software from a box. In short, the cloud is just a metaphor for the Internet.

When tech people say your data is in the cloud or that you can work in the cloud, it has nothing to do with white fluffy things in the sky. It’s stored somewhere on a server — or many servers — and this network of servers finds what you need and delivers it to your computer.

There are hundreds of cloud-based services and platforms for businesses such as social media platforms, financial and word processing software, creative applications and more. Remember when you had to purchase the latest version of Word for your computer? Now, as a cloud-based software, all updates are automatic so you never have to worry about the latest version.

Other servers in the cloud are responsible for storing data. For example, when you take a picture on your smartphone, it is stored on your phone’s internal memory drive. However, when you upload the photos to social media, you are uploading it to the cloud. The Cloud” is just a network of servers. Some servers provide an online service, like Microsoft Office 365, and others allow you to store and access data, like Instagram, Google Drive or Dropbox.

Cloud storage makes it easy for employees to share and collaborate on files across vast distances, and even if on-site servers are lost or destroyed, cloud data remains untouched. Cloud storage is a cloud computing model in which data is stored on remote servers accessed from the internet, or “cloud.” It is maintained, operated and managed by a cloud storage service provider on storage servers.

IT Cloud Security

How secure is the cloud?

If you have good password protocols, files stored in reliable cloud services are some of the most secure. Viruses can still corrupt local copies of cloud data. However, if you have your computer set to automatically upload copies to the cloud, then you can overwrite the cloud copies with your corrupt copies. That’s not a problem with the cloud storage, it’s a problem with your machine. Many people have lost data to hard drive failures, but rarely is data lost that is stored in the cloud.

Despite the cloud’s popularity, it isn’t foolproof. Not every cloud provider is the same. Some go offline and out of business. Others take only minimal security precautions. Even if your business only uses the most reputable cloud services and products you can find, unanticipated issues can still occur. Many businesses still choose to use the cloud, but mitigating its risks requires being prepared. Here’s why.