Join Jess Stratton for an in-depth discussion in this video What is "the cloud"?, part of Setting Up Your Mobile Office to Work from Anywhere.
Most of the apps and concepts I'm going to show you in this course are considered cloud apps. You may heard the term before and also the phrase working in The Cloud. I'm going to answer some questions you may have before we start. So, the first question is, what is The Cloud? Well, the cloud is a term for any app or means of storing data that isn't on your computer. The app may be installed on your computer but the data isn't. It's on the internet somewhere, using another company's resources to run them, host them and back them up.
You can access your data anywhere. So the next question is, of course, why is it called The Cloud? Well, here's a network diagram that could look very much like your home network. In the early days of network diagrams, the icon associated with the unknown Internet outside the network that the diagram was covering, was depicted by a Cloud icon. It's the unknown Internet. Anything past your local area network and outside your firewall, which protects you from unwanted Internet data is considered The Cloud.
So this definitely covers the apps that we're talking about. They aren't located on any computer in your home network or in your office network. They're all remotely located somewhere outside and past my Internet firewall. The last two questions are, what are the pros and cons of working in The Cloud? I'll start with the benefits. Of course, there's anywhere access. As long as I have Internet access in a computer or a smartphone or a tablet, I can access the file I need. If I use a cloud app that lets me store my grocery list online and I find I'm near a grocery store, I can take out my smart phone and see what's on my list.
If I'm near a public libaray and I need to print out my plane boarding pass I can log into my airline account and print it right from the library. Another great benefit of working in the Cloud is that it's somebody else's responsibility to run, maintain and back up all my data. All I have to do is keep working. So what are some of the cons of working in The Cloud? Well, there's some privacy issues, for one. You need to read how the company that's storing your data will use your data.
Also, in order to use your data that's located on the Internet, you have to actually be connected to the Internet. If your word processing files are located on a storage server like Googledrive or Microsoft Skydrive but you haven't brought them down locally to your laptop. If the power goes out, you can certainly still use your laptop if it's running on batteries. But with no internet connection it's as good as a paperweight if you are planning on working on those files. So, ultimately working in The Cloud is an essential part of being a mobile worker.
And you'll find the ability to work anywhere, on any device is a huge plus.
- Researching purchases for your mobile office
- Getting connected to the Internet on the go
- Using separate calendars and email for personal use and business
- Setting up productivity tools like iCloud and Google Voice
- Saving email attachments to the cloud
- Managing your task list with Wunderlist
- Keeping in touch on the road
- Using TripIt to manage your trips
- Organizing apps on your phone or tablet
- Syncing devices
- Connecting to a desktop computer
- Securing accounts and devices