You’ve probably heard of iCloud by Apple where you can upload music and photos to the “cloud” allowing you to view and use all those files from anywhere and on any device. Cloud computing uses the same concept, but now everything you use at work and at home will be on “the cloud.” That includes your software and all your files.

Chances are you’ve already used some form of cloud computing at home and at work. Take email for example: If you use Gmail, Yahoo or Hotmail, you’ve had some experience with cloud computing. The email program and all the emails are not stored on your computer. They are stored on a server or on the cloud that you access through an interface on your computer. As Internet bandwidth and speed improves, streaming popular work programs such as Microsoft Word or Adobe Photoshop will become more of a reality. Soon your computer won’t need a ton of memory or hard drive space. Giant buildings are being constructed right now to hold all the servers that will be needed to store all the files and software once everything moves to the cloud.

Cloud computing will be beneficial for businesses in many ways. There won’t be as many costs for high-powered hardware, and it won’t be necessary to buy full versions of expensive software. There will only be a small monthly fee for all software and storage needs. So a company’s bill every month will be like a utility bill to be on the cloud. Businesses will pay their electric bill, gas bill and computer bill. Also the latest versions of all the programs will be available without having to buy updates all the time. IT costs will be reduced as well because of streamlined hardware that, in theory, will have fewer problems than a network of heterogeneous machines and operating systems. And if a new employee is added? There will be less cost to get them a basic system, hooking them up to the cloud and adding them as a user. This technology will also make it very easy to work from anywhere, which is a very attractive feature as well.

There are some concerns with cloud computing. My biggest concerns are speed, availability and security. We need to know that the Internet can handle this sort of system before we start using it. The last thing we want is for the cloud to be to slow while we have a deadline looming at work. Or, even worse, the cloud is down and not working thus making it impossible to meet your deadline. Finally, security will be an issue for some. Some business owners will be reluctant to put everything up on the cloud until they know it’s secure. Companies that will offer cloud computing will be assuring users that it is safe and secure because their reputations will be dependent on it. They will use encryption and authentication programs to make sure of it.

I am still unsure of the cloud and it’s speed. I would need to see it in action before I would trust it. With that said, I feel that this will be our reality in the future and it will provide many benefits so I look forward to that.