Cloud Computing – What does that even mean?

When you hear the term cloud computing, do you know what this term refers to? A recent survey by Citrix Systems revealed that most people believe cloud computing to be one of the following: related to weather, pillows, drugs, and even toilet paper. Over half of survey participants claim they do not use cloud computing; however, any Internet user who buys from large online retailers or who uses social networking sites uses the cloud.

Cloud storage is off-site, third party data storage that is connected through the Internet. In laymen’s terms, this means that data is stored in a virtual hard drive that’s accessible from anywhere. In the past, data storage has been limited to external hard drives, disks, etc. sitting on your desktop – or at least in your office, however, these tools are limited in storage space and are often cumbersome when sharing files between multiple devices.

Cloud storage allows you to share information on a variety of devices – your desktop, your laptop, your tablet, your smartphone – anywhere you have internet access. This allows employees to access their information anywhere and at any time. This also eliminates the need to store sensitive data on any single device, therefore making the risk of data breach less likely.

The benefits of cloud usage come with risks and concerns. Despite highly-advanced security and fraud countermeasures, some employers regard cloud security guarantees with pessimism. Data security is maintained through encryption, authorization restrictions, and authentication steps that require passwords. Security measures are holding up for now, but only time will tell the total extent of the cyber risk involved with using cloud services.