Cloud Computing

"Cloud computing" is a widely used phrase today in the tech world, and most of us use this cloud-based techonology without even knowing what it's really about or how it works. Ultimately, what cloud computing really is, is the sharing of resources over the internet, rather than using local resources and storage. This results in an inter-connected world where your files don't have to be on your local workstation for you to access them.

There are quite some differences when referring to cloud computing in regards to an individual and in regards to a consumer-level scale. While cloud computing to us may simply be convenient or a cool feature, it is a huge deal to businesses that require a lot of computer-related resources. Before the advent of cloud computing, large companies would have to spend huge amounts of money on computer infratructure, and the maintenance of all these servers, not to mention the physical office space required to house all these resources. However, now, these companies' employees can simply upload all their data to "The Cloud", a shared resource center, without having to invest in local resources. There are three main implementations of cloud computing in regards to companies and businesses: Software-as-a-Service(SaaS), Platform-as-a-Service(PaaS) and Infrastructure-as-a-Service(IaaS). SaaS is implemented when a business chooses to make use of an application which it's employees will use over the internet. PaaS allows a company to create its own applications, tailored to its specific needs, which are to be used by the company's employees. IaaS employs the service of tech giants like Google, who provide a 'skeleton' of a service that can be, essentially, rented out by companies that require them. A great example of this is the widely popular streaming service Netflix, which makes use of the cloud services of Amazon to power its platform.

A great advantage of cloud computing is its metered service. With physical servers, you had to pay for a fixed amount of resources, whether you used all of it or not, while with the cloud, you just pay for what you use, making it much more cost-effective. The market for cloud computing is enormous, generating almost a 100 billion dollars a year in 2012. This figure could also potentially rise up to over 270 billion dollars by 2020! It's also easy to see why, the advantages are innumerable when comparing cloud computing to traditional resources. It allows work to be done anywhere, anytime, and all you need is an internet connection. It's a simple idea, and yet one that has revolutionised the way we store and utilise resources, not just on the scale of companies and businesses, but also for the average, everyday person.

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Questions:

How secure is Cloud Computing when compared to local, physical servers?

Are there any cons to Cloud Computing?

What happens when any data stored in the cloud is lost or corrupted?