What is cloud computing?

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Tech expert Drew Patchell explains what cloud computing is and how it can help you to wirelessly back up your data.

Cloud computing isn’t a new idea; it just hasn’t been offered to consumers until the last few years. Now both individuals and businesses are seeking ways to not only save on software costs, but also to implement systems which provide easy syncing and backup of information in a secure environment.

What is cloud computing?
A very loose definition of cloud computing is that it uses hardware and software, delivered as a service over the internet, to perform a task. The main task which cloud computing offers the general public is the ability to automatically back up files and share them with others. The cloud computing industry has grown so large that companies such as Google have developed products in the space for consumers and businesses.

Why bother?
A small number of Australians back up their files on a regular basis, while the majority are at risk of losing important files. Cloud computing allows multiple users to work in a way which is secure and provides peace-of-mind that any file, photo, or document, is backed up in their online storage account. An additional feature is the ability for the owner to grant additional users access to specific files or folders via email, which allows you to share files with friends of colleagues which are too big be sent via email.

The most important aspect of setting up a cloud computing resource is creating a secure password. A password which contains a minimum of eight letters (of which at least two are capitalised) and two numbers will give you a secure password which should be almost impossible to hack. Certain products, such as Google Drive, allow users to set up mobile login verification, where the user receives a code via SMS which is entered as an additional security tool, to help ensure the information is not accessed by an unauthorised user. Cloud storage is a great place to back up data, but it is recommended that a regular offline backup is also performed on critical files.

Cloud storage software

Launched in 2008, Dropbox is a cloud computing software program originally created by co-founder Drew Houston. He came up with the concept for Dropbox as a way to access all of his files remotely without the complicated procedures required by other services at the time, after he forgot to take his USB flash drive to class. Dropbox has grown significantly since its inception to be the most used product in cloud storage – www.dropbox.com is now the 123rd most visited website in the world. Dropbox provides different levels of membership, from a 2.5GB free membership all the way up to a one terabyte (1 TB) business account.

Google Drive
Google has been involved with online software and data storage services since 2005. Google Drive, launched in 2012, is a program which allows users to access their files anywhere, anytime. Users can upload their files directly to the website or download the Google Drive software, providing a folder which will auto-sync the data, essentially backing it up. Google Drive provides users with 5GB of free cloud storage, with a small cost per month for additional space.

iCloud is free cloud computing software which provides users of Apple products with 5GB of cloud storage. Built into Apple products, iCloud allows you to sync your contacts, calendar, photos, movies, music, games, emails, apps and even documents with every Apple device you own, while also backing up the data securely.

DataSync+ is an Android-operated cloud computing software program which allows you to sync and backup your data between devices and a DropBox account. The unique feature of DataSync+ is that if you are in the middle of a game or email, and want to switch devices, you are able to close the program on one device and open it in exactly the same spot on the other. DataSync+ is available in the ‘Google play’ store for $2.59.


Sign up for Dropbox at www.dropbox.com
Start using a Google Drive at drive.google.com
Back up your Apple device with iCloud at www.apple.com
Download DataSync+ on your Android device at play.google.com

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Written by Drew

Starting out as a week of work experience in 2005 while studying his Bachelor of Business at Swinburne University, Drew has never left his post and has been with the company ever since, working on the websites digital needs. Drew has a passion for all things technology which is only rivalled for his love of all things sport (watching, not playing).


Total Comments: 6
  1. 0

    Google Drive has a limit of 15GB (including Gmail and large Google+ media), not 5GB as you stated. https://support.google.com/drive/answer/6558?hl=en

  2. 0

    The friends of my colleagues are all too big to be sent by email! Ha ha!

  3. 0

    Beam me up SOFTWARE

  4. 0

    The top of the comments section (before this comment of mine) says “5 comments already”.

    I count only four (before mine). I have occasionally seen this on other pages. Has one been removed?

  5. 0

    The Internet IS Cloud computing and is a phrase used to describe a variety of computing concepts that involve a large number of computers connected through a real-time communication network such as the Internet. In science, cloud computing is a synonym for distributed computing over a network, and means the ability to run a program or application on many connected computers at the same time. Cloud is only a ‘buzz’ word for storage space on a large computer and syncing is a simplified switch to copy data etc: from one ‘computer’ = iphone, android, tablet, to other ‘computers’
    also connected to the Internet. Many seniors are worried with “The Cloud”, thinking their private information is floating in space and easy to collect.

    IT / Geek/ Mak



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