The Luxury That Is Necessity: What is Cloud Computing?

Cloud computing has been defined as the use of cloud services for computer applications by way of the Internet.

While we often think of cloud storage when we think of cloud services, we use cloud services every day: banking, email accounts, movie sites, shopping sites, and so on.

When someone performs the process of cloud computing, he or she not only uses the Internet to make transactions and pay for services, but also stores and retrieves data. Individuals can own cloud storage accounts and use their accounts to both store documents and retrieve them when necessary.

In days gone by, email was the preferred form of cloud storage. In these modern times, however, cloud storage accounts provide users with the space they need to store data of any kind.

Cloud computing consists of enrolling and paying for services. If you want to watch movies online, Netflix, Hulu, and even Amazon, you can enroll in their services by registering for an account.

NetFlix and Hulu require that you provide a credit card when you sign up so that you can access movies and shows automatically — without providing your card number and information each time you purchase a movie or show.

Hulu’s services grant the user unlimited streaming of videos and shows for just $7.99 per month. Amazon allows you to pay for a “season pass,” meaning that each additional episode in the season deducts a certain amount from your debit card.

What about purchases? Shopping is one of the most common ways to do cloud computing, considering that Americans have many common needs that can be purchased online to save time and money.

What happens if, say, you want a certain type of book and you do not have the time to go sit at your favorite bookstore and get it? Feel no shame: go home after work and shop online at Amazon for your book needs.

If you find some books that you want but desire to save a little extra money, you may just decide to purchase books by way of Amazon’s Kindle application and view them in cloud storage without the need to download the books themselves.

The Kindle was once Amazon’s newest e-book reader that could store up to 3,600 books (the original Kindle Keyboard); today, the Kindle application can be downloaded onto any tablet, smartphone, or digital reader and used to access your books that, when purchased, are sent to your cloud storage account. Your cloud storage account can be accessed with a username and password.

If you are interested in doing your banking online, banks provide personal checking and savings accounts for immediate access. These, similar to movie accounts, require a username and password.

Banking accounts allow you to view your checking and savings accounts (as well as certificate of deposit accounts, or CDs) upon logging into your bank website. You can even view checks that you’ve written, transfer funds, and enroll into automatic Bill Pay programs so that your bills are automatically deducted from your account without your personal request.

Automatic Bill Pay saves you the hassle of remembering what specific deadlines you have in which to pay your bills. With your bills paid on time, your credit remains unharmed and you can continue to enjoy your services and privileges uninterrupted.

Of course, there is always a disruption in these services when your credit card or check card expires and you must update your payment information with your service provider.

What is cloud computing? While movies, shows, bank accounts, and book purchases are all important to human life, documents are vital as well. The doctoral student who is currently working on a two or three-year thesis project needs as much storage space for his or her documents as a businesswoman working on a company presentation that requires the same amount of time in research.

Before cloud storage arose to its current prominence, paper stacks, files with papers filled to the brim were symbols of important documents; today, everyone is “going paperless.” This means that email accounts, cloud storage accounts, and electronic devices have taken the places of paper stacks and files.

Email accounts require a username and password, but also allow you to store as many documents and papers as you need. If you are a student who needs to print off a 15-20-page research paper, do not fear: save it to your email and print it off on a school computer. Cloud storage accounts such as with Dropbox, SugarSync, and others are considered necessary when corporate employees have numerous amounts of data to process on a daily basis.

The average student may need an email, but large corporations will rely on cloud storage accounts to store what email cannot. Cloud storage accounts differ from email accounts in that they require a certain amount of money per month or year. In many cases, most individuals seem to use their email in order to save some cash.

There are some exceptions to this, however: Apple provides 5GB of free cloud storage by way of its iCloud service, but Google provides unlimited cloud storage for photos for its users.

If you are a hard-core gamer who wants to save memorable moments from FIFA 12 or FIFA 13, just snap a screenshot by way of your iPad and make sure that your iPad memory storage is in sync with Google’s “Instant Upload” feature. Instant Upload allows your pictures to be sent to your Gmail account automatically — so you do not need to remember to upload them. Corporations rely on cloud storage far more than the average consumer.

Cloud storage is part of cloud computing, since we use the Internet to store and retrieve documents when the need arises.

What is cloud computing? It involves purchases, storage, and retrieval of necessary goods, services, and files by way of the Internet. The best part about cloud computing is that we can do it anywhere, on any computer, by way of usernames and passwords.

While multiple usernames and passwords still seems to complicate the process, recent creations of websites that require social network login information may just bridge the gap and make this process even easier.