PC Consultants – What is the cloud?

A question commonly asked is “What is the Cloud?” The term ‘cloud computing’ is everywhere, but what is it and what does it mean?

Put simply, cloud computing means storing and accessing data and programs over the internet instead of on your computer’s hard drive. So, in many ways the ‘cloud’ is a metaphor for the internet. The name first started as tech industry slang as, in the early days of the internet, technical diagrams represented the servers and infrastructure that made up the internet as a cloud.

To be seen as ‘cloud computing’ you need to be accessing your data or your programs over the internet, or at least have your data synchronise with other information across the web. However, when it comes to home and small business use, the lines between local and cloud computing have become a little blurred. You may have software on your computer, such as Microsoft Office but use the cloud for storage.

Good examples of cloud computing include messaging platforms such as WhatsApp, social media generally, including Facebook, X, LinkedIn, TikTok and Instagram, through to entertainment platforms such as YouTube, Netflix and Prime Video. Increasingly, more and more of what we do, how we communicate, entertain and educate ourselves is cloud-based.

Understandably, technology and the computers we use are now becoming more dedicated to the cloud, such as web-centric laptops that run Google’s Chrome operating system. Aside from running web-based applications, these Chromebooks can also run Android apps, opening up access to many applications not available on conventional computers. Whilst Chromebooks rely more heavily on connected and cloud-based services, they look almost identical to conventional laptops are cheaper, more secure and have much better battery life, due to their use of less expensive and energy-hungry hardware.

The cloud is also not dedicated to computers at home or at work. Increasingly the cloud is being used by car manufacturers to remotely monitor a vehicles performance, predict maintenance needs and support driverless vehicles. At home, the cloud enables you to integrate appliances, monitor their performance and control them remotely improving reliability and security.

Here to stay, the cloud can certainly enhance our lives through a more connected, accessible and convenient world.

At PC Consultants we work closely with our clients to establish the right technology for them.

Helping them to make the most of what computing technology has to offer, to find out more simply get in touch with us so we can use our experience to help you get the most from your IT.