5 Things You Didn't Know About Cloud Computing

"The cloud" has become the development of the decade in the information technology industry. But what starts with IT rarely stays with IT, and especially not if it is good! As it turns out, cloud computing has nearly universal benefits across industries, countries, ages, backgrounds and levels of expertise. And since the cloud is still evolving rapidly, there is always more to learn. In this post, discover five things you probably didn't know about cloud computing.

1. There are several different types of clouds

For starters, there are public clouds, private clouds and hybrid clouds. There are also managed clouds and unmanaged clouds. There are large and small clouds and domestic and international clouds and you don't have to pick just one kind, either.

Each type of cloud offers different perks and drawbacks. The key is to match up the right cloud type with your hardware/software, data storage/transmission and security needs.

2. There is also fog

Fog computing, or just "the fog" for short, refers to enhancing the ability of Internet of Things devices to store their own data either internally or on a more localized server or computer system that won't impact bandwidth for large applications.

Huge international companies like Amazon are using the fog to ensure load times remain speedy across its many applications.

3. You are probably already using the cloud (even if you think you aren't)

If you like to watch movies using Amazon or Netflix, or you use a web-based email system such as Google's Gmail, or you log in to check your Facebook account regularly, or you have vast amounts of music stored on iTunes, you are already making good use of cloud-based technology.

Even if you don't understand what it is, where it is or how it works, this proves you do know it can be cheap or even free to use, regardless of the amount of data you want to store.

4. You don't need to update your hardware to use cloud software

One of the best perks about using cloud computing for solopreneurs and small businesses in particular is that, to a point, it doesn't really matter how old your hardware is or what version of office software you are running on it. When you access cloud computing resources, you are using the application's own web-based software to do so.

So the only requirement you bear is having a fast enough internet connection with sufficient bandwidth to do the activities you need to do online.

5. You can get more for less

There is no doubt (and plentiful proof) that using cloud computing resources can save you money on both a personal and a business level. The cloud can also save you time.

Example 1: In the past, when you wanted to rent a movie, you would have to get in your car, drive to the video store, select the video, pay, drive home again, then pop it into your player to watch it (and hope it wasn't damaged in some way). Today, you can hop online, order the video to stream with one click and start the film right away!

This example, while simplistic, holds as true in business applications.

Example 2: You have 1,000 photos you need to store somewhere. In the past, you would need to purchase an external hard drive (in the $50-$100 range), plug it into your computer, install the software, then plug in your digital camera, transfer the photos and re-check to make sure they were on the hard drive. Today you can snap, snap, snap away without even thinking about it, and if you need more photo storage space, Apple will sell it to you for $0.99 a month....on its cloud.

So now you know five of the most fundamental facts about cloud computing, and you are probably also starting to truly comprehend what a huge revolution it has caused in how we do just about everything. The cloud frees up time, resources and cash and gives us more functionality in every significant area of life. Best of all, this incredible resource is here to stay.