The Cloud, all about your Data and what you should know.
Where is Your Data anyway?
Well, in a big city, somewhere on our planet, there is a special building.
You may drive past it everyday and if you actually take a close look at it you will probably just shrug it off as yet another ugly warehouse.
But, if you look a little closer you will notice some things that most warehouse buildings do not have.
First of all, there will probably be very large power lines attached to the building, if they are not actually buried underground.
Second, if you can see the roof, or maybe just around the building, there will be some very large and powerful Air Conditioning units that seem to run constantly.
Third, the building will probably have very few windows, and in all probability, the whole building will be surrounded by; a formidable fence, with multiple cameras on poles, and a manned security gate.
These are all signs that a building is housing something that requires special care and protection.
Living on an island and using the "Cloud"
A Cloud is just another Hard Drive, somewhere.
If you are a "Cloud" user then that building probably stores your personal data.
It is stored there and updated every time you log on with your PC or Tablet or Smartphone via a WIFI modem. Your data that you have designated as being available for storage on some company's "Cloud" system is kept here, on super-fast hard drives or high-speed digital memory cards.
Kind of sounds like just another Hard Drive, doesn't it? You know, just like the one already in your PC?
Well, essentially, that's it; The Cloud access you purchased is just another hard drive for you to access and use remotely.
The genius was the invention of the term "Cloud". It is beautiful, you have to admit! They give you a link to their centralized data storage systems, and call it a Cloud.
You think WOW! My data is up there, in the clouds, just floating around and ready for me to access it, and I don't have to worry about it being secure, or about it being destroyed. And, it only costs me $XX Bucks a month! WOW!
I can be in my favorite Coffee Shop, or in the MALL, or at home, and I can access and use my stored data.
Of course, wherever I might be, I do need for there to be a WIFI access point that will give me access to the web to get there.
Your Personal Cloud
What is WIFI?
We have all become accustomed to having our WIFI access to the web.
This is a little anticlimactic, but WIFI is actually an acronym for; Wireless Fidelity, Wireless Internet.
Decades ago, companies started pulling those expensive ethernet cables from the walls and setting up WIFI repeaters for their employees mostly to save money.
At the same time, the Desktop Computers of the world began hitting the junk heaps and we all got our new and, by the way, portable, Notebook PCs with built-in WIFI transceivers.
We employees got these Notebooks because it was cheaper for companies to allow workers to be more mobile and not always have to find a cable for internet access.
And, of course, the standardization of the WIFI protocol, along with the dramatic drop in cost for WIFI modems, gave employees the freedom to take their data and work with them wherever they might be.
In fact two new technologies fed on each other. One, the proliferation of PCs with a built in WIFI modem, drove a new and expanded demand for more WIFI access in more places.
Two, the fact that WIFI access was becoming available almost everywhere, in locations like; Coffee Shops, Shopping Malls, Doctors Waiting Rooms, Airports, Train Stations, just to name a few, drove the exploding demand for more PCs with WIFI Modems.
So, exactly what is WIFI?
Oh, don't worry! I will not drop into some rant of technical jargon.
Perhaps you have heard people mention the words eight-oh-two-dot-eleven (802.11).
Well whether you have or not, it is a strictly defined protocol for the digital hand-shake transfer of data between two modems via a Low Power RF connection.
So, if your PC has an 802.11 modem, the software in your PC will detect if there is another 802.11 modem within range.
If so, and you know the Login and Password codes for that particular modem, then your PC will essentially be connected, securely to the particular web site by way of this modem to modem link.
So, just go with it,
Today, people are walking around, all over the world, with their Notebook PCs, Tablets, Smart Phones, headsets and even wristwatches that have WIFI built in.
And they all want to get connected, wherever they go!
What is your Data, anyway?
AS I have already mentioned, that building I described is storing your data.
An your data? Your data consists of what you designate as your most valuable information that you have saved on your PC hard drive for years.
You know, such things as; your digital photo collection, your emails from friends, your favorite music that you converted years ago, your family videos, your collection of your favorite concert videos, even your copies of your favorite movies.
And, of course, you data includes, your folders of scanned receipts, scanned documents, income tax filings, and your scanned birth certificates and other documents of your children, to name just a few.
This list is your data that although useless to others, is invaluable to you.
And you keep it on your Hard Drive, at home and if you are a proactive person, you have it all backed up on another hard drive somewhere.
Seagate Personal Cloud kit
What is a Data Cloud?
So, now that the basics are out of the way, you should understand that Data stored on a "Cloud" is simply data stored on a hard drive owned by a company that charges for data storage and management.
Generally, to hook you, the average person, will "give you a small amount of storage on their cloud for free. For instance, 2-G-bytes or 5-G-bytes is typical.
But, if you need more space at some point in the future, then you have to pay them for the added storage capacity, monthly.
8-TB Personal Cloud
Why should I want to use a Cloud Service
Now you ask yourself, why do I want to store my data on a Cloud system.
Honestly, the only realistic answer is that you will have access to your data wherever you go that you have a WIFI connection to the web. And, under some conditions, this is a very valuable thing to them having access essentially anywhere they might be.
Secondly, your data is stored, kept secure from hackers and such and backed up on a big professionally managed system for you.
These are good things that we all want, security and access.
What are my other Data Storage Options?
But, by now you have figured out a few things about a "Cloud"
1- You need WIFI access to the web to get to your data.
2- You will eventually end up paying for your Cloud storage.
3- It's not magic, or even very special to use a cloud storage system, simpley convenient.
So, what else can you and I do, if we do not want to pay a monthly fee for Cloud access, but still want the convenience of flexible access.
Well, today, you can buy a hard drive that is set up to be your own personal Cloud.
That's right, for $100 to $150 you can purchase a 2-3-Tera-byte hard drive with built in WIFI as well as the special software to safely and securely act as your own Cloud.
That's right, your own Cloud with no monthly payments, sitting at your home or office and providing you with access from anywhere, just like the big companies provide.
Just a thought for you to ponder.
In Summary, Public Cloud versus Private Cloud
Technology is evolving so swiftly in our world these days that too often we hear about wonderful breakthroughs almost as they are themselves becoming obsolete.
Some people do not want to deal with hard drives, and backing up or securing their data. The Cloud concept of data management is probably the right tool for them
But, many of us do not want to waste our money paying for a data storage system that provides far more than they actually use in their daily lives.
For them, these new personal Cloud drives just might be the tool that they need.
Some Dangers of Cloud Storage
© 2014 Don Bobbitt
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