Connected in the Cloud
Have you heard of the Cloud? I am sure you have; it is impossible to be engaged with technology and not have heard the term the Cloud. Just to be clear, the Cloud is not actually in the heavens, the terms origins are unknown, but its meaning is universally understood to refer to a data center, where information is stored, on earth!
Depending on where you live, you may drive by the Cloud daily in your comings and goings; most likely unaware that this building to your left is in fact home to countless pieces of information, vital to someone.
The majority of businesses and individuals have adopted Cloud technology in some format, whether it is for email, storage of pictures and music, medical records and personal histories, academic research, banking and finance information, inventory and payrolls, endless bytes of personal identifying information as well everything from traffic reports to the evening news and everything in between; the Cloud is the keeper of our information.
Many people believe that Cloud is something new, yet I personally remember a time in 1999, when data centers were being built to house data from many of the brokerage firms, in one place. The data centers being built were state of the art. They had physical security, including guards, with digital badge readers. All servers were located in the data center, and the brokerage firms could rent out the servers. This was to help solve a problem that was being discovered in the field, and that was that the servers were housed and operated in closets, were anyone could access the vital information they contained.
Yes, throughout the United States, servers, with some of the most sensitive financial information were in closets!
Initially, many large technology companies came up with an idea that a business could rent IT data centers, much like a phone service, the business would pay for what it would consume. But business did not go along with this idea and it fell by the wayside.
Fast forward seventeen years, and here we are, not only have we adopted large data centers holding our most sensitive data, but we have even come up with a crowd friendly name for those centers – the Cloud!
Quite literally, everything is going to the Cloud. Identity management, one of the most complicated technologies to implement, is now Cloud based; and may I say that the Cloud is doing a great job of relieving this burden from the IT departments.
You may wonder why did businesses and individuals decide to adopt Cloud? Personally, I saw business leaders see rising cost, without an unsatisfactory return on their investment. While IT was meant to help a company, it in fact brought a heavy burden to the business, which in turn would have to hire additional people to implement and run the applications and then in turn invest in additional technology.
One of the problems that business found themselves dealing with was the “high-jacking” of their technology departments; meaning one or two individuals would be the only people who knew of to access or process certain critical data, which made them indispensable. Even to this day, there are still companies that have “home grown” technology, that only one person manages. Why is this bad? Because this one technologist, with or without intent, has total control of the company, as they hold the keys to the kingdom. Should the CEO, board, or directors, be beholding to this individual?
Cloud technologies benefit businesses and individuals by making readily available the latest releases, providing constant 24 hour a day support, an opportunity for the consumer to try out new applications without the hardware investment, a platform to share the burden of cost, and to rapidly adjust to dynamic markets, among other things.
We personally have resisted putting our information in the Cloud, although we use WordPress for the ThatIsAllForNow website, which is a Cloud based customer management database CMDB. I do keep a personal backup of the ThatIsAllForNow website, while benefitting from the ease of starting a website, without having to hire a server administrator, a web developer and then a database person. The ease that technology was supposed to offer is offered in the cloud.
The Cloud is helping us to stay Connected, watching over our structured and unstructured data, while leveling the field for all to play.