Cloud computing has gone completely mainstream friends and yes, using it at home is an excellent idea. Here’s why:
What started as a purely enterprise level commercial trend back in the beginning of the 2000’s has spent the last 13 years steadily becoming more popular, cheaper and much more user friendly. It’s also gotten a lot more portable as the technology behind the cloud was streamlined and consumerized.
Thanks to these varied and powerful trends, what used to be a resource for large companies is now available to anyone with nearly any kind of computing device, be it a laptop, PC or mobile machine like a smart phone. With this last advance, the migration of the cloud into regular people’s homes and even their pockets became a major phenomenon, and one that has created a wonderful new user experience for all of us.
With that said, let’s go over some of the benefits, tips and even a couple of minor cons that revolve around using cloud computing as a personal or home based tool.
Benefits of Having the Cloud in your Home and Pocket
That cloud computing in the home is a great thing almost goes without saying. What we’re seeing with this technology is an innovative marvel of usefulness and digital power, especially if used cleverly. Here are some of the major ways in which you can get the best advantage from your own personal cloud services.
Hassle free cross platform transfer
Simply this; with the advent of cheap or even free cloud storage and computing mediums, you can now move your documents, photos, work projects and school related stuff across numerous different devices in no time and at no serious hassle. In effect, by storing whatever you have in one specific cloud medium, you now have instant access to it everywhere in the world on any machine with a web connection. Additionally, you can save, update and synchronize all this stored data from any machine anywhere in the world.
Thanks to this beautiful feature of the cloud, the clumsy days of using USB transfers, disc burning technology or any other physical data transport means are gone. Even email can be mostly foregone as a way of sending yourself important stuff.
The world of cloud computing is really cheap
While there are definitely major enterprise level cloud processing and storage systems that cost lots of money out there, most of the stuff you could possibly want to use in your house, mobile devices or work office is either dirt cheap or even free to take advantage of. Cloud storage services like DropBox, Google Drive and iCloud are completely free up to a few gigabytes and cost only a small monthly fee for larger storage volumes.
Cloud computing/software services like Amazon Web Services and Salesforce.com are also really affordable and even give free trial offers so you can decide if you like what you’re using before spending any money on them.
Bottom line: assuming your cloud storage and computing needs aren’t on par with what a larger business would need, you’ll never have to break the bank because of your need for the cloud.
Cloud computing is going to save your data
We all have large amounts of deeply treasured or very important information stored on our personal machines. This stuff can include hours of family video clips, thousands of irreplaceable photos or important scanned documents and images. Then there are also all of the usual financial, work and school related documents whose loss would be a disaster. Essentially, given the increasingly digital nature of our lives, more and more of our most important information is no longer sitting there in physical form.
Considering these factors, keeping all this information secure from loss, theft or a house fire is extremely important. Sure, you can store your computer data on external hard drives, but what if the hard drive is kept next to the computer when a thief breaks in or your home burns to the ground? You’re screwed anyways. With cloud computing, especially cloud storage, this stops being a problem completely. Since everything you add to a storage cloud is kept on distant corporate servers, you will never have to worry about losing it at all under any even remotely normal circumstances.
Cloud Computing is really, really easy to use
A final benefit worth mentioning is the fact that, if you decide you want all of the above features of the cloud, then getting them by trying cloud services is really simple. Most consumer level cloud systems, such as Drive, DropBox and iCloud are designed to be extremely simple to use. You simply download their desktop/mobile device applications and follow a simple series of installation, upload and use steps. With that, you’re done and good to go.
Even more robust cloud computing systems like Amazon Web Services are built with regular users in mind, not clever computer programmers.
A Few Basic Tips on Using the Cloud
If you’re convinced about making the cloud a part of your home and pocket devices, then be sure to follow through with these few pretty simple but important tips.
Use powerful internet connections
Cloud storage and computing require transfers of large quantities of data. This is what they’re mostly for and this is what you’ll also be doing with them. Thus, to get the most out of their capacity, make sure your high speed internet connection is robust. This applies to home computers as much as it does to your wireless service provider
Don’t spend more than you need to
Since we’re talking about home based use, you really don’t need to buy into any heavy duty cloud service. Thus, take things step by step: First try the free services that companies like Google, Apple and DropBox give you –if they’re enough, great, if not, slowly increment your way up from there by buying extra storage space or functions until you think you’re happy with what you’ve got.
As for cloud based software services, take advantage of their free trials and see if you like what you see.
Pick the encrypted option, or encrypt data yourself
One of the very few possible cons to cloud storage and computing is the fact that it isn’t guaranteed to be completely secure. Although realistically you’re fine 99.9% of the time, the fact remains that you’re sending and storing your important personal data through third party systems.
To maximize your protection, either choose a cloud storage system that encrypts everything you store with them (most offer this) or to be extra secure, pick a service that encrypts in a way which prevents even them from seeing what you’re uploading (fewer cloud services offer this). One useful option for cloud storage is SpiderOak.com, which blocks even their own staff from seeing your data unencrypted.