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What Is the Cloud and Why Would I Want to Be There?

By Raymond Smith160810cloud-computing-security

“The Cloud,” simply stated, is a computer or a group of computers working together connected to the Internet.  If you own a cell phone, or a smartphone, you probably are already using the cloud. Most carriers are using “The Cloud” to back up your phone’s configuration, photos and apps.

The major advantage of using cloud computing is the ability to reach one’s data, information, and files from any place at any time.  A second advantage would be reducing the cost of buying the computers and building your own computer network. Commercial cloud computing services have network engineers, system architects and server administrators who are trained and perform these specialized tasks each day. Cloud services also can provide access to unique software that allows work in document sharing, calendar sharing, accounting information and many other specialized applications. Normally, such software would be too expensive and complex for a small organization.

Many people have fears or questions about cloud services, such as “I don’t want my information out on the Internet” or “Is it safe?” Choosing a cloud service is much the same as choosing a bank. Is a particular bank a safe place to invest one’s money, do they provide good services, and are they FDIC insured?

When shopping for a cloud service provider, there are three important questions to answer:

— Is the Cloud Provider or Service using safety and security practices?

— Do they have certifications in security and privacy?

— Are they insured?

Defining your needs and goals is the start point for migrating your work to “The Cloud” so that it is safe, secure and accessible from anywhere, at any place, at any time.

Raymond Smith is technology services manager for the Tennessee Baptist Convention. TBC is currently using private, public cloud, data center services. Contact Raymond at rsmith@tnbaptist.org.