What is cloud computing?
Cloud computing (or cloud storage), is the process of storing data online and it is gaining in popularity for several reasons. It is a secure way to store information, data is password protected, it can be easily shared with others, it can’t get lost, damaged or stolen and it takes up no physical space on your computer.
Until now, data was stored physically on discs, hard drives or flash drives. The downside to this is that it takes up space to store the info, there is always the risk of materials getting lost, damaged or stolen and if you want to share it you have to make copies and somehow safely get it to another person at a different location.
There are many benefits that cloud computing companies offer, including:
Cloud storage offers you as much or as little space as you need-and you only pay the host for what you use. This saves you money and is great for businesses that may require more space, say, at busy times of the year and less space in off-season times.
Any required maintenance is taken care of by the host, so you don’t need a large IT department.
Access your files any time from any device
You may get access to documents, programs, templates and other applications provided by the host company. The main benefit of this is that you don’t have to download anything on your computer… it’s all on the host’s site. This saves space on your PC while everything you need is just a click away.
Password-protect specific files and folders to keep them private and share them with only those you choose to.
How do I get started?
To take advantage of cloud computing, you must first decide on a host. This is the cloud computing company that will build, maintain and protect the ‘cloud’ where your information will be stored. Cloud computing companies offer a wide array of services and can range greatly in price. Some are free, some are as little as $1 a month and still others can charge over $50 a year. It is important to choose the host that is right for your business.
Here are the 3 most popular cloud computing companies:
Google Drive-Google’s service is free for the first 15GB of space. Also, it not only stores your data, but also offers you the option to create, edit, store and share images, music, files and forms. It can be used with Google Docs-easy-to-use templates to help you create the best documents.
DropBox-They have a free and paid version. Dropbox is super secure and you can give password-protected access to specific folders to select people so they see only what they need to see and nothing else. Live chat and phone support take the guesswork out of setting up your site.
JustCloud-Offering free and paid accounts-as little as $3.95 a month-this company offers easy drag and drop customization, bank-grade encryption and the ability to sync multiple computers so you have 100% access to your files, all the time.
If you are new to cloud computing, don’t fret! Read here to learn the basics