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John C. Maxwell, author of Developing the Leaders Around You
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What is the Cloud?

the cloud

The Cloud gives us an almost dreamlike promise of infinite accessibility to our files from an almost magical “anywhere.” However, reality tells us that the Cloud is hardly that massive server in the sky. It’s really a very large physical framework of thousands of computers housed in warehouses across the planet. We also tend to imagine the Cloud as something very new. But it was back in 1996 that Steve Jobs first talked about Apple’s yet-to-be-named iCloud service. Jobs wanted a server service that was as simple as plug-n-play back in the ‘90s. What is now expected and almost taken for granted was revolutionary in 1996—moving everything off your local computer to a server you can access from anywhere on any device.

When you upload to the Cloud you share a copy of your files with a very large server network that is protected and backed up. There is no longer a need to worry about your computer crashing and losing files—they are safe in the Cloud. Being able to access files from anywhere helps us be more efficient and not tied to an office. The world becomes our workspace.

The Cloud also empowers users to choose with which computer companies they wish to do business. We are no longer locked into a single operating system. With Cloud access you can work interchangeably from a PC, Apple, Android or Linux device. You choose your Cloud service provider and have full access to your files no matter what device you are using.

The Cloud is all things. 

It’s virtual. Thousands of servers worldwide are talking to us no matter where we are or what device we’re using. Servers are there when and how we need them.  

It’s flexible and scalable. The Cloud provides the amount of storage you need at the moment.  

It’s open. You can move your “cloud” files around without being locked into a contract with any one provider. 

It’s secure. The most secure cloud service is a private one on dedicated hardware. Always remember to have security measures in place no matter which provider you choose.  

It’s affordable. You’ll get the best prices in the public cloud, when servers are shared with other users. Your account isn’t shared, just the machine that houses your files. 

Cloud Services

iCloud

Apple’s iCloud connects you and your Apple devices to make sure you always have the latest versions of your most important files. 

GoogleDrive

GoogleDrive doesn’t care if you use Windows, Apple or Android. It’s the cloud service for everyone. You can also easily invite others to view, edit and/or leave comments on your files or folders.

Amazon CloudDrive

Amazon jumped headlong into the digital arena with CloudDrive that offers free mobile apps, secure access from any computer and extra storage for your phone.

DropBox

DropBox makes it easy to share with others. You can access files from any device with the DropBox app installed.

OneDrive

Microsoft’s file-hosting service allows users to upload and sync files to cloud storage and then access them from a browser or local device. 

We are all living in a high-speed digital world and we need high-speed networks to keep us secure and connected. Before selecting your cloud provider, we strongly recommend that you carefully read through the providers’ terms of service and that you have a full understanding of the policies and pricing options.

Catherine Kerley
Catherine Kerley is the Web Administrator for the College of Liberal Studies. She has 17 years of web experience with CLS focusing on website design and improving user experience.

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