Although I’ve written extensively on cloud computing, much of which you can find on this site with a search simply on Cloud Computing, due to its importance and its never too late to revisit its evolution. Most new businesses and all businesses that use the internet require some level of cloud computing. The cloud can be a storage mechanism solely, such as that of backup through companies like Backblaze, to actual product development and delivery. It is important to know just how vital this is to your business and your ability to meet needs.
The cloud is both a passive mechanism in that it might be solely used for backup to a very active mechanism in that it is your delivery tool. When you place an order for a product, you are using a cloud based store to choose, price and have the product delivered to the right home.
Something that sounds as simple as a backup tool is not quite so. It is a place that you put your data remotely in case your local file/s are damaged. You can go to the cloud and recover likely a good rendition of your corrupted file something which has value but to the degree it has value might be hard to determine. However, it could be the difference your company has between bankruptcie or staying in business.
The cloud is better understood today but it might not be fully understood or appreciated. Some write their primary, first run data simply to the cloud and not locally as in the past. Does this create loyalty. Absolutely! As an example, when you write in Ulysses your writing to the cloud not to your computer. With that comes a lot security and flexibility.
The Internet is a Component of Cloud Based Computing
The internet started out in 1969 by the American military as a foolproof way of providing reliable transport of data between computers. Routes from one computer to another are not static. The reason for this development was in case there was a major war that cut communications. If paths were static or linear in nature an outage in a region could mean that they would be cut off.
In 1995 the cloud the cloud as we know it was created to ride on the back of the internet and it’s done so well it’s the way of the world today. Could you possibly imagine if the internet went down. It’s kind of unfathomable. Commerce, social interaction and all the stuff that is done today relies on the internet.
The cloud has introduced a whole new gamut of capability. Instead of applications running soley for an individual, the cloud is often what powers the application. Cloud storage, stores and sales (Amazon as a good example of a whole business run from the cloud) and applications that allow groups to participate or not have been born.
In reality, the cloud is where it’s at. Local storage on a smartphone is now no longer so critical if a cloud service can provide the storage without using the phone‘ s storage to provide the service. A good example of this is a cloud service called pcloud. pCloud stores your data without using your phones storage. Fast internet connections make this not only viable but it’s being done. If you have ten thousand photos and a phone with 32 megs of space, you certainly are not going to be able to store your photos on your phone unless you use something like pCloud which uses non of your phones resources. You can easily show someone your ten thousand stored photos as if they stored locally but in reality they are being store in the cloud.
Not all cloud services work this way mind you. Some make a local copy and a cloud copy. Thus your phone’s storage will be taxed. However, this dynamic is no longer necessary. You can watch a movie, look at your photos and play songs but all from the internet. This variation dramatically changes not only what we are doing but our overall access to information at many levels.
Interoperability of Platforms
Along with enabling completely new services and businesses, the cloud has brought together disparate computer platforms. If you look at Apple, the use of iCloud allows a number of things but nothing so crucial as the interaction of software across its platforms.
Further, the cloud is allowing the interaction of that same software across product solutions. As an example, you can sync your applications between Android and the Apple ecosystem. This is enabling teams to come together without having to swap out their equipment saving both money and resources to coordinate swapping of platforms.
The cloud is so powerful that massive amounts of data is being stored and is available for retrieval across the globe. Sharing is a common practice that prior to the cloud was not simple. Now it’s becoming second nature. This access to information by the young tends to be taken as a given but in a very short time we’ve gone from information retrieval that was quite manual and took some time to that in which it is almost instantaneous.
In fact, one of the most serious problems with this is the amount of information that is flooding our door step. Most of the information is of good quality. However, there are two very salient problems. The first is just being able to absorb all this information and the second is the quality of the information. Some information is being disseminated that ranges from slightly incorrect to blatantly false to engage people in activities for someone’s self-serving purposes.
No Turning Back
It is next to impossible with technology to turn it back. To control it is possible. To slow it down often happens. However, with the cloud, I have only touched on the tip of the iceberg as to what’s to come. The cloud ties everything together. It enables applications, teams, storage, information dissemination and so much more. Just when we feel we’ve seen all that it can do voila it astounds and does more.
For us though as humans this is all very challenging. All these inputs don’t necessarily translate to positive outcomes but rather anxiety and as possibility breakdown. Questioning ourselves becomes easier as we see our memories taxed; as we try to do more which requires a sound grounding in what we have and will have. How many times do you hear people question their memory these days whether they are 20 or 60. How many people wonder if they are developing early onsite dementia when they can’t remember not only the basics but major things.
The cloud has proven truly liberating but at the same time there is a clash that is developing between human function and what is required for us to take advantage of all these capabilities that are literally swamping us. Many would just like a break; for thing to slow down and to catch their breath, so to speak, so that the potential lines up with the reality.
There is no point in being able to do all these things if we can’t function. If somehow we stutter and we are under the deluge of information that the net and more specifically the cloud enable, we have gained nothing. In fact, what we might gained is one heck of a nervous breakdown in which we have no sense of context and can no longer enjoy the fruits of our labour.
Gaining Control Is more Important than Ever
Before we step off the cliff not even realizing this is what we might be doing, we have to step back and look at this creation. What have we. What do we want. How do we prevent the clash of information that overwhelms us and does us no favours as we try to exist.
The cloud as we understand it can look so appealing; so billowy that we fail to recognize what our cloud is. It can be the tremendous resource that it is or it can bury us for no good reason. The question around the American election is one good example of how the cloud worked against us. To step back and understand what is going on is essential to any capability to provide control. The cloud is an enabler and a powerful one at that but we have to know what it is enabling and where we’re at in terms of evolution.
All that is meaningful to us could literally be lost. Tide soap, as an example, may no longer be what we want if it is cloaked in some negative but utilitarian aspect of the cloud. The outcomes can be extremely dangerous.
It is only the capability of the cloud that allows for you to literally loose your identity and to get it back but the cost might be very extreme. Goals and objectives might allow us to take that proverbial breath and get a grip on this new reality; the good and the bad. Are we going to be able to deal with the bad if we don’t understand what we have and what we want. If we think it is such then that’s exactly what it might be and this could be a long shot from what we intended.