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Living in the Clouds

The term "cloud" has been over-hyped by many different businesses trying to distinguish their products or services in the market or from their  competition.  The word Cloud refers to products or services that requires an Internet connection to utilize it, often requiring a web browser.

For example, In the past you had an email client running on your local computer to store and manage your email.  The main problem with this configuration was that if you needed access to your email from a remote location, unless you had a method to remotely access your computer you could not get to it.

Several years ago browser based email services took off.  Now there are several free and fee based email providers.  Unlike having all your email stored and managed on a local computer, you can now get access to your email anywhere you have a browser with an internet connection.

As consumers and businesses are becoming more mobile with smartphones and cellular enabled laptops and tablets they're demanding more services that they can utilize while on the move.  Several companies are now offering many different types of cloud based products for these users.
Cloud Based Applications
Google and Microsoft are now competing to offer cloud-based office suites, known as Google Apps and Office365). 

These suites generally include browser based word processing, spreadsheet, presentation, email applications, and storage services.  There are also other cloud providers offering these services, but they will be discussed in future articles.

These office suites are targeted at businesses for a fee, but free or limited versions of these services are available for consumers.

Several other types of cloud applications are available from several different providers. These services include, everything from online databases systems, to picture editing, etc.
Cloud Based Storage
One of the hot topics in the public Cloud space right now is online music storage services.  Amazon, Google and Apple are all competing in this segment of the consumer market right now. 

Below is a list of links for these service providers:

If you need a place to store your files so that you can access them from any computer, you may want to consider utilizing a cloud based storage provider.  Many of these services have free storage options that are limited, for a fee you can pay to increase the amount of available storage.

Below is a list of links for these service providers:

Cloud Based Backup
There are several considerations when choosing a cloud based backup service provider. I have written another article on this subject entitled "Internet Backup Solutions" that covers this topic in more detail then this article.
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