Demystifying the Cloud: What it is and How it Can Benefit Your Business

Have you been hearing the term “the cloud” a lot lately? For example, have you ever tried to view an old picture on your phone and seen a message saying, “Downloading this picture from the cloud?” Or perhaps you’ve heard your IT department talk about moving your email “to the cloud.” But what the heck does that actually mean? Where exactly is your data going?

In the past, your computer files were stored on physical hardware, such as your computer’s hard drive, a flash drive, or a floppy disk. If you needed a file from someone else’s computer, you had to ask them to copy it onto an external device and physically hand it back to you so you could copy the file onto your own computer.

But with the rise of networking and the internet, organizations found they could easily share files from a central location called a server. A server is like a giant, well-organized filing cabinet for computers, where important files are stored for many people to access.

However, what happens when the filing cabinet runs out of space? You might store older, less frequently used documents in a separate storage unit. The cloud serves as a similar solution, where your files are stored remotely. You can think of cloud storage space as a storage unit rented from companies like Apple, Microsoft, Amazon, or Google. These companies have the resources to build massive buildings full of servers, called data centers.

That picture from your dad’s birthday 5 years ago that your phone says is “on the cloud” is actually stored on a hard drive in a server inside one of these data centers. To ensure your data is secure, it’s probably stored on multiple servers across different data centers. So when you hear the term “the cloud,” think of it as a convenient, remote storage space for your data that you can access from anywhere, as long as you have an internet connection.

Is it safe to store your data on the cloud?

When you store data in the cloud, you are essentially trusting a third-party provider with your information. That can be a scary idea to many people. As with any service, there is always a potential risk for data breaches or unauthorized access. However, reputable cloud providers implement a wide range of security measures, including data encryption, access controls, and monitoring, to protect their users’ data. Cloud providers are also subject to industry regulations and compliance standards, such as the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) and the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA). These standards outline specific requirements for data security, privacy, and compliance, ensuring that cloud providers maintain the necessary security protocols to safeguard user data.

Ultimately, it is up to each person and organization to conduct their own due diligence and research to determine which cloud providers align with their specific security needs and standards. By taking the necessary precautions, such as using strong passwords and encryption, and carefully selecting a reputable cloud provider, users can utilize cloud computing in a safe and secure manner. In some cases, your data may actually be safer in the cloud rather than on your home PC. For example, if you have a flood in your home and your computer is destroyed, it may not be possible to recover your data off your computer’s hard drive. But if you backed up your data to the cloud, it is safe and ready to be accessed from a new device.

How can the cloud be helpful to small-to-medium-sized businesses?

If you are a part of a small-to-medium-sized business you’re probably using cloud computing without even realizing it! For example:

  1. Email: Many small businesses use cloud-based email services such as Gmail, Outlook, Yahoo, or Microsoft 365.
  2. File storage and sharing: File storage and sharing services like Google Drive, Dropbox, or Microsoft OneDrive to store and share files with employees, clients, or partners.
  3. Accounting software: Accounting software such as QuickBooks Online or Xero to manage their finances.
  4. Customer Relationship Management (CRM): CRM software like Salesforce or HubSpot to manage customer interactions and relationships.
  5. Video conferencing: Communication tools like Zoom or Microsoft Teams to communicate with employees, clients, or partners remotely.

The cloud provides many benefits for small businesses, including cost savings, flexibility, and scalability, making it an increasingly popular choice for businesses of all sizes.

Looking for a secure and reliable cloud storage solution for your business? Look no further than allesTEK Cloud Services (ACS) platform. Our fully-managed sync, share, and collaboration platform offer enhanced security, more features, and robust tracking and auditing capabilities. With our user-friendly dashboard, administrators can easily manage access to sensitive data and enforce strict policies based on your organization’s unique needs. Say goodbye to data loss and security breaches with the ACS platform. Contact us today to learn more!