For a lot of folks, the cloud is one of those mysterious entities that remains invisible in daily life. Awareness of the NSA’s data collection practices raised a flag for consumers, but those who think living outside the cloud is possible might reconsider.
A recent infographic by IBM entitled 5 Reasons Businesses Use the Cloud highlights the benefits of cloud computing:
- The cloud provides better insight and visibility
- It makes collaboration easier
- The cloud supports a variety of business needs
- It allows for rapid development of new products and services
- The results of using the cloud are proven. Eighty-two percent of companies saved money after moving to the cloud (NSK Inc.).
As stated in a recent article from Forbes, according to Gartner, the result of these benefits is that money spent on cloud computing will exceed $13 billion by 2014. Currently the banking industry is the most active user of the cloud, but the U.S. Government spends about $2 billion annually and places over half of its information in the cloud (NSK Inc.).
Over the past year I have made a concerted effort to reduce the amount of data I store in hard copy files or on my personal computer. Collaborative work environments have encouraged me to use cloud services like Box.net, Evernote, Dropbox, and Google Drive. Shutterfly and Instagram have become the main storage location for my images. I have stopped downloading music in favor of using services like Spotify and Pandora. Netflix is the only way I watch a movie these days. But the list of personal cloud use goes on; my banking, credit cards, utilities, purchases, phone records, health records, and education records are all stored in ether.
Am I worried? Maybe a little. But, I am less concerned about who might have my data than I am about what would happen if my data were lost. After all, some of the things in the cloud, namely those baby photos of my kids, are priceless to me.
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