Byte Me Article 351 – Cloud Computing

3rd February 2018

Get Your Head In The Clouds

“If your business is not using Cloud Computing then you are behind the times.”  This is the catch cry that is getting told over and over by CEO’s and business managers at the meetings and seminars all around the country that they so often go to.  So how correct is this and what is cloud computing anyway?  Good answers to these questions are not necessarily concise so I will spread them over the next two weeks.

Cloud computing is a very general term and can refer to cloud base storage, cloud based applications and/or cloud hosting.  Cloud base storage is the most common of these and is simply a service like DropBox, iCloud or Google Drive where your data can be stored on a server that you can’t actually see yourself or touch.  The physical server still exists somewhere, however it will be located in Brisbane, Sydney or Melbourne or even overseas.

Many of us now use these cloud based storage services via our smart phones to store information such as photos, contacts, phone settings and even Facebook information – all of these files are stored on a server that we can only contact via the Internet.  We will never be able to walk into one of these storage facilities with a USB stick and ask for a copy of one of our photos and we all have to hope that these sites are adequately maintained and secure.

Many cloud based storage services are free or appear to be free.  However, Apple will only let you use their iCloud because you have purchased one of their i devices.  Dropbox and Google Drive will only allow you to store a small amount of data or they will want to charge you a monthly fee.  Many of these free services make their money back via on screen advertising – the adverts that abound at the same time or they hope that we will eventually want to store more data and have to sign up to a monthly charge.

Cloud based applications are not about general file storage like the above, but rather, they have very specific uses.  For instance, Internet banking, online accounting packages, motelier packages, Internet based emails and even medical or law based software packages are now often run from a cloud based service.  Once again there is still a physical server somewhere in the world that is still made of nuts, bolts and electronic chips and once again we will never be able to go visit these facilities in person.

Cloud based applications are generally more secure than the previously mentioned cloud based storage since they have a far narrower focus of use.  Internet banking sites only need to store your balance, transaction history and payee details.  You cannot upload a copy of yesterday’s happy snaps or the email that you just got from your friend.  For this reason, they are normally very secure and have very adequate security surrounding their use.

Cloud hosting is more complex as it refers to the renting of a physical server or a percentage of a server to run your business from, as though it were yours and located in your own office.  It is still located somewhere else in the world but we have the use of it via the Internet to load our own software and store our own data.

Cloud hosting is never free and has lots of complexities surrounding its use and charges.  This will form the basis of next weeks’ article. 

Future Byte Me topics can be emailed to [email protected] and Bruce is contactable at Kerr Solutions, 205 Musgrave Street or on 49 222 400.

For more advice and assistance from Kerr Solutions, like and follow us on Facebook