Over the past several years, “cloud computing” has become incredibly popular. Almost every new app or software platform that emerges seems to be hosted in the cloud, and individual and corporate users alike are increasingly interested in cloud-hosted services. Part of this is due to the incentive for businesses to offer cloud services.
By offering cloud-hosted software, you can sell a monthly subscription service, rather than a one-time-use product. This leads to better cash flow and ongoing development cycles. But there are massive advantages for consumers as well. The thing is, most consumers fundamentally misunderstand the nature of the cloud, and what “cloud computing” really means.
Top Misconceptions About The Cloud
These are some of the biggest misconceptions and myths about the “cloud:”
The Cloud Is Inherently Secure
First, it’s common for cloud providers to point out that hosting your data with them is more secure than hosting it on your own. However, cloud hosting by default is not inherently more reliable than other methods of organizing. When a cloud provider makes security a top priority, it’s reasonable to expect that your materials will be safe with them, and possibly safer than it would be on locally hosted servers.
No tech solution is completely hack-proof or completely secure, however. Some cloud providers may have weak security or may rely on an additional measure of cloud security to keep their users’ accounts and data safe.
The Cloud Is All Around Us
This misconception likely originates with the name. Because it’s described as “cloud” computing, it’s intuitive to think that the data associated with the cloud is hanging in the air, all around us. This isn’t the case. In reality, cloud providers are hosting their systems and your data in a physical data center.
Big cloud providers run massive data centers and work hard to keep them safe from both criminal and natural threats; they may even have multiple data centers around the country, or internationally, to keep them safe. But they’re always rooted in a physical form of storage somewhere.
The Cloud Is Faster
Because cloud computing is a new and advanced technology, people often assume that it’s inherently faster than similar forms of data storage and retrieval. While some cloud systems are more rapid, there are too many variables to make this a definitive or accurate generalization.
For example, when processing enormous quantities of data, a cloud platform may result in slower processing. Your speed will also depend on things like your internet connection, the processing power of your machines, and more.
All Applications Are Either Cloud-Hosted Or Not
Cloud hosting seems like a binary option; if you store your data on a local server, it can’t be in the cloud. If you use a cloud computing platform, it can’t be locally hosted. But in reality, many businesses attempt to adopt a hybrid model.
They may rely primarily on a local server, while using a cloud server as a backup, or they may rely on a cloud platform for the majority of their functions, but use local servers when speed is a priority.
Cloud Computing Always Saves Money
It’s true that in many cases, switching to a cloud-hosted version of your software can save you money. This is because you’ll have fewer upkeep costs, and you’ll get to take advantage of a highly polished system.
You’ll also get to pay a small monthly fee, rather than facing the steep setup costs of creating your own server. However, for smaller operations and applications, some cloud apps may be more expensive.
Switching Cloud Providers Is Easy
Cloud platforms make it easy to sign up, and prioritize user convenience above most other variables. This makes users believe that changing from one cloud provider to another is a simple matter. However, this isn’t usually the case. Cloud platforms greatly benefit from user retention, so they intentionally make it difficult to leave.
The Cloud Is A Fad
Again, this probably stems from the name. “Cloud computing” has been used as a buzzword, overused, and used in the wrong ways. Accordingly, it’s natural for people to think it’s overhyped. However, some of the biggest names in tech—including Amazon, Dropbox, and Gmail, have built their entire service platforms on cloud computing. While cloud hosting may improve or evolve in the near future, it probably won’t disappear altogether or be replaced by some fundamentally different technology.
Improving Cloud Knowledge
You don’t have to be a tech genius or dedicated expert to understand the basics of cloud computing and rid yourself of the misconceptions that can hold you back. When you better understand the cloud, you can make better decisions about the software you use—regardless of whether you rely on it for business or individual purposes.
If you are interested in even more technology-related articles and information from us here at Bit Rebels, then we have a lot to choose from.