What is “The Cloud”?

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“What is ‘The Cloud’?”

I’ve been asked that question many times. It sounds friendly, but to many people it is a confusing term. “The Cloud” is a term that refers to things being done, or saved on computers in a remote location. These computers are called servers and since they can be miles away from where you are, you need internet access to use it. If you have used Google Docs or even Gmail in the past, then you already use The Cloud. As people begin to juggle their work computers, home computers, smartphones and tablets, cloud computing is becoming more convenient and valuable. It allows you to keep all of those devices in sync without having to carry around a portable hard drive. All you need is an internet connection.

Today, one of the most popular ways to use The Cloud is to save your files.  Services like Box.com or Dropbox, give away free storage to new users. When you want to save something in The Cloud, you simply upload it to your password protected folder on their websites. It’s very similar to attaching a document to an email. As long as you have an internet connection,  you can get those files from any computer. Folders and files that are stored in the Cloud can also be easily shared with others, allowing you to collaborate with people all around the world.

Cloud storage is especially important for people with iPads or smartphones, since they don’t usually have USB ports or often have a lot of storage.

Saving things to The Cloud is great because it’s all wireless, with nothing to take with you. So long as you have internet access it’s very easy to upload and retrieve your files. For more information on how to use Cloud based storage or on other cloud services like Google Docs, contact John-Mark Ikeda at jikeda@law.berkeley.edu or the Help Desk at trouble@law.berkeley.edu .

Visit box.com or Dropbox.com to learn more about these cloud based storage tools.