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A Cloudy Day?

Are you afraid to store information in the Cloud?

Your friends and relatives wirelessly sync their contacts, calendars, and pictures among their devices. Others back up their data to a remote storage site. And you are just not sure. Should you be in the Cloud?

Well, guess what? You already are. This email is stored in the Cloud. All email is.

Let me explain.

Cloud computing allows you to store your data on the Internet — rather than locally in your computer — so you can access it from anywhere. Email has always been in the Cloud. While your email appears to be in your computer, it is really stored in the server of your email provider (Comcast, Bellsouth, Gmail, AOL, etc.); you use your computer to access your account. This explains why you can read your email from any device with an Internet connection.

Choosing to back up your data to the Cloud is the same concept: storing your information in cyberspace so it is accessible from any computer. This is helpful if you need to access your data and you are not near your computer, or if you need to restore your data to a new computer.

The future of Cloud computing is to incorporate software programs so they, too, will be accessible from the Internet rather than stored on your computer. Instead of purchasing and installing Microsoft Word, for example, you will pay a monthly fee to access it on the Internet and create and store your Word documents in cyberspace. Adobe is already offering this service for their high-end design programs. Others will follow.

Please note that Cloud computing is similar to, but not the same as, Apple’s iCloud. iCloud is Apple’s name for their wireless syncing program. You can use iCloud to wirelessly share information among your Apple devices (and some Windows devices). This information is shared through the Cloud, but iCloud is the specific software used by Apple to set up this sharing function.

I hope this clears up any confusion — and doesn’t make it more “cloudy”!