Cloud computing was a revolutionary new concept which has changed the way in which we use technology to do things for us. From healthcare to business, cloud computing presents a paradigm shift in the computer processing and data storage construct, offering unrivaled flexibility, convenience and computer power. It is no doubt one of the most significant evolutions of recent years, and is already having a big impact on IT world at large.

How does it work?

We all know the basic principles behind modern personal computing. Computers have an internal processor, which performs the calculations, and internal storage, which allows us to store any digital information. The computer is completely self-contained, with all calculations, operations and data transfers happening solely within said computer. Extending this to more complex IT systems that large scale companies and organizations utilize, there are many computers connected to a network and its associated databases, storage facilities and monitoring systems beyond, but with each computer handling individually the user’s requirements.

The major difference between this and cloud computing is that in cloud computing, each workstation is not an independent source of calculation or storage, but instead connects to a centralized and omnipotent ‘cloud’ which performs all the calculations, data storage and protocols. The front end which the user interacts with is connected via a network to the cloud, making the front end practically just a screen with which to work on. All in all, the IT infrastructure is centralized, as opposed to being shared between a legion of individual computers.

The implications of cloud computing

The advantages to cloud computing are obvious. Clients who use the cloud do not have to worry about the performance of their individual computer, because the computer is essentially just acting as an intermediary, while the cloud performs all the necessary tasks. Applications and data can be accessed from any computer with an internet connection and the right password, increasing flexibility and versatility. There is no fear of loss of data, because the cloud stores everything, and each front end can reap the potentially huge processing speeds that the cloud provides, allowing users to perform complex calculations from their end if they need to. Centralization also makes it easier to manage and control the system at large, bringing down maintenance costs.

There are notable concerns associated with cloud computing which will need safeguarding in the future. Breaching the firewall puts all systems and all data within the cloud subject to attack, which amounts to much more than what would be stored on any individual computer. It is always true that challenges like this are common to new and emerging technologies, but with the right caution, cloud computing will be a sure-fire milestone in IT infrastructure.