Obviously we all know there are clouds, and god know many inventors live with their head in them – but what do they mean when they talk about computing in the clouds?
At its most basic level, the “cloud” is simply the data storage portion of the Internet. A vast array of servers around the world that store data and talk to one another. If a document is stored, or a task is being performed in the cloud, it means that file or application “lives” on a server you access remotely rather than on a local device like your computer.
This is really nothing new. For years, there have been services that would back up your files to a distant server. Web-based email programs, like Yahoo Mail or Hotmail, are familiar examples of cloud-based applications. These programs live on remote servers, not your PC, and you access them through a Web browser.
What is new is the trend being created by hardware that in many ways forces us to use the “Cloud” instead of storing things on our own equipment. There are several new computers coming out that have as little as 16 Gigs of storage – about the same as two cell phones. This lack of storage will simply force the user to store data in the cloud rather than their hard-drive.
Is this good or bad for inventors? I guess that depends on how you feel about the security of the cloud, and other people’s ability to access the information you load onto it. It could be notes about your invention, or drawings, or even a list of inventions you are working on. All stored in a place none of us really know called a “Cloud”
I don’t know that I would ring the alarm bells just yet, but I would know it’s happening around you, and you may want to do a little homework on the security issues associated with this rapidly growing trend. After all, it’s your data, you should know how secure it is at all times.