So what the hell is the cloud?

I can tell you what it’s not. It’s not actual clouds, and no, storms do not affect access to your files. I get asked a lot, “I don’t understand how it gets up there, and what happens when it rains?” I can say for certain that it’s not actual clouds. I can also tell you that it’s not just there. It’s still in a physical location; you just don’t know where that location is.

Cloud has been around for many years. I’ve been in the IT industry for about fifteen years, maybe a bit more if you count secondary school. What I have found is that cloud has been around for a long time; it was just never called cloud.

When IT people used to draw diagrams for management, the internet was mainly drawn as a cloud, with the various systems within the business connected to it. Clever marketing people came up with the idea to call any system that wasn’t in a business the cloud.

Is the cloud secure?
Do you feel worried about leaving your data at the hands of a machine?
Perhaps it’s the feeling of not having control over it or just not seeing it with your own eyes.
But using the ‘cloud’ to store your data is much more secure than any physical server.
So, to bust some myths here’s some more information about how the cloud works – and why you should consider using it in your business.

Virtual safety
The cloud is basically someone else’s computer. Instead of having a physical piece of equipment that stores all your secure company information, that’s all taken and put up behind a layer of encryption and security in a virtual land.
It’s easier to trick someone into clicking a link – sent by a hacker – than hacking into a protected system.
To put it another way, your employees can easily click on a phishing email (an email used to trick information out of you) that exposes your data than someone hacking into the system directly.
And by the same token, navigating beyond layers of security (the cloud) is much more difficult than swiping someone’s hard drive too.
When it comes to hacking and being vulnerable vendors like Microsoft, Apple, Google, Amazon and to a smaller extent WordPress, Drupal, Joomla (and other website programs) are forever upgrading and updating their systems to patch security issues and make sure the applications and websites are safe and secure to prevent unauthorised access, so it’s very important to make sure you keep all these software solutions up to date when there are updates available.

The dinner plate theory
Imagine taking a big plate out of your cupboard and smashing it on the floor. And the plate represents your file.
Tiny pieces of your china fly across the room.
Now, think of those little fragments as pieces of the file. Then place these pieces all over the room. Those locations are the servers. If someone tries to break into one server, all they have is different pieces of data – rather than the full plate.
And that’s where having your information in the cloud (which stores your whole server in one) can give you piece of mind. They can’t get the full picture.

Protect Yourself
With the growing trend of cloud computing, more and more businesses are moving to cloud-based solutions. The danger with these solutions is that if someone manages to get your username and password to that system they might have access and you don’t even know it’s happening.
By implementing the right security and the right IT and company policies your data, computers, and identity is protected, there is no need to worry about malware, viruses (especially ransomware), SPAM, hacking, stolen data and other nasties that potentially come with cloud-based systems.
When working with or looking for an IT partner, it’s imperative that they make you aware of all the options that can protect your business and your systems regardless of size. Protecting a business of 1 employee or a business of 1000 employees is easy with the assistance of high-profile vendors like Microsoft, Dropbox and Trend Micro as the solutions and security is bulletproof.

Author Bio

James Bomford
Communications Specialist, Systems Expert, and the Director of Right Click IT

James is a communications specialist, systems expert, and the Director of Right Click IT.
James worked for notable Fortune 500 companies including Hewlett Packard, Amcor, PaperlinX and Siemens after graduating Applied Science in IT at Swinburne University. This time in large corporations allowed him to contribute to, as well as run some of the largest infrastructure changes ever implemented in those organisations.

Because of his passion and drive, he’s been able to take the same processes and technology used by large organisations and adapt their use by small and medium businesses which in turn has created better business performance and increased profits.

What the F is the Cloud is his first book. This easy go-to teaches business owners to find a better way to systemise their processes, eliminate their IT woes and put trust in technology to do the work for them.