It seems that everyone has their head in the clouds these days. If you haven’t switched over to the cloud yet, you may want to know how it could benefit you and what kind of footprint it leaves.
If you’ve ever made avatars, played games, edited photos, stored files, or posted on blogs, you have used Cloud-based software. If you’ve tried out Google Drive or toyed around with creating spreadsheets online, you have used Cloud-based software.
You probably have also heard this referred to as web-based software before the huge broadcast concerning “The Cloud.” The main difference between it and software that runs on your computer is that it can be accessed from any supporting browser, not just your PC.
However, not all Cloud-based programs are made equally. You need to find one that works for you.
You can look for the following criteria when seeking out Cloud-based software:
- Browser compatibility-Whether or not you plan to use the online software on your phone or your laptop, it needs to work on your browser. For instance, if the Cloud-based program requires Internet Explorer, it will not work on Chrome. If it was made for Mozilla Firefox, it may not work on Internet Explorer. Of course, some programs work no matter what browser you use, and those usually benefit you the most.
- Program Stability-The program should not crash or your browser should not close when using it. Your screen also never should freeze and your computer should still run fast when using the software you choose. If not, it may not be right for your PC or your operating system. Otherwise, it may just need some major internal improvements that you can’t control.
- Server Security-You wouldn’t want anyone to steal any of your latest graphics designs, long books, or photos. You also wouldn’t want anyone to find all your secret codes required to run certain advanced Cloud computing functions. You must use a secure data server when completing projects on Cloud-based software.
- Convenient Accessibility-The right Cloud-based software will remain accessible day or night. You should be able to use it whenever you want. As far as usage allowance, that may vary. Try to find an affordable plan that will help you accomplish what you need.
- Sharing Functionality-If you use programs online that result in output of files, you want several ways to share them with others. This makes collaboration with co-workers, team members, and friends easier. Your whole team can finish all jobs much faster when files are shared easier.
An Additional Important Feature
When you complete Cloud-based projects online, you also need sufficient storage space. If you work with very large files, you may need more than 50GB of space. Your company should consider this before you try to collaborate online, because purchase Cloud space could get expensive.
However, some of the companies out there that sell online file storage for all your projects offer unlimited space. Usually the price ranges for this range from $30 to $50 a month. If you don’t need more than 100Gb, it may be possible to get that for between $10 and $20 a month on average. Sometimes, you can get secure storage for as low as $2 per month if you pay by the year.
Is Cloud Storage Green?
Everyday the amount of toxic ewaste accumulates in our landfills, and we are constantly looking for a safer way to use our technology. With each new “green” device we buy, we can never be sure just how “green” it really is with all of resources that are taxed to make our energy-saving devices.
So instead of buying another external hard drive or another laptop because yours is getting too full, a logical choice would be to get Cloud storage, right? With a word like “cloud”, it’s hard to imagine something tangible, but these places are brick and mortar data centers and not all of them are necessarily energy efficient.
The EPA estimates that over 2% of the North American electricity consumption comes from data centers and servers. Greenpeace published a guide in April 2012, with statistics on how green individual cloud services were.
Going with a Cloud service may seem a bit scary at first because you are putting everything you have in the hands of someone else. That’s understandable, especially with the recent NSA and privacy scares. Eventually, it will be hard to escape. Mac doesn’t even make the iMac with a CD/DVD player anymore because they consider it obsolete since everything is on the Cloud now.