I know, I know. The cloud is such a hot buzzword I know you’re familiar. But have you really thought about what it means? Are you using the cloud? By the end of this article, you’ll know exactly why and exactly how to embrace the cloud.
The cloud was explained to me in college – circa 2009. It was pretty new at the time and my computer science professor was really excited. She even showed a short animated movie created by Microsoft that explained the revolutionary power of the cloud. I’ll do my best to explain what I saw. That movie was the quickest (and probably the best) explanation of cloud computer I’ve ever heard. And note, this explanation is very high level. If you’re interested in learning more, by all means, jump over to Google. But this is enough information to get you to pay attention to cloud computing.
Why Your Freelance Business Belongs in the Cloud
Let’s say you have all your files on your laptop. You’re hanging out at Starbucks when someone bumps your table and your coffee goes tumbling onto your keyboard. You grab for it but that makes the lid pop off and now your computer is soaked. You try to shake the coffee out but it’s nearly impossible. By the time you rush home to try to clean it, it’s already gone. All of your work. Gone. Its value is the least of your worries! You have just lost hours and hours of work and you’ll lose virtually the same amount of hours in your attempt to re-create everything. Yes, recreating may go faster but you may find yourself screaming and crying so much that, all told, it’ll take longer than the first time.
Is it obvious I’ve ‘been there, done that’?
Remember how I said the replacement cost of your computer is the least of your worries? After all time > money. Well, with cloud computing, you only have to deal with the least of your worries. This is how your life would have gone if you had the cloud…
You spill coffee on your laptop. You take it home to clean but it’s a gonner. You head over to Best Buy and get another great laptop (read our guide for how to choose a laptop). You head back to Starbucks and keep working like it never even happened.
How is this possible? Because the cloud stores everything you need on servers all around the planet (typically). Now, a server is sort of like your laptop. It’s a place to store files. But it’s safer than your computer. First off, servers aren’t stored close to coffee. Second, having your work on multiple servers means that it’s virtually impossible to lose. If one server goes down, your information can still be accessed on a different server. Often these servers are located even on different continents which means that unless the world gets blown up by aliens, your data will be waiting for you. Many servers now are even stored in semi truck trailers so they can be disbanded wherever they are needed. Some servers are even out in the middle of the ocean. Really, your data is safe with the cloud.
Are There Drawbacks to Using the Cloud?
A (potential) drawback is the need to be connected to the internet in order to access your information. Now, you can still store files locally on your computer whenever you’d like. But if you want the full power of the cloud, you must be connected to your servers. Another drawback is using the cloud can cost money. But there’s a workaround for that…
Okay… How Do I Get on the Cloud?
Nearly every major tech company offers paid cloud storage. And it’s a really good value and I really only have nice things to say. But there are many fantastic free alternatives if you’re a new freelancer or simply don’t need a ton of storage: Google Drive, DropBox, MEGA, pCloud, MediaFire, Box, SeaCloud, FlipDrive, SurDoc, FlipDrive, JumpShare… too many to list. These all of course have data caps but you can at least keep all of your important files stored for free. Honestly, most people really only run into issues if have a lot of high resolution video content which takes up a lot of space.
The cloud is the future of computing. It’s why Chromebooks and other laptops are able to exist. They’re cheap because you don’t need a great machine – you simply use the cloud. Many pieces of software are even cloud-based so you’ll soon not even have to worry about comparability issues with PC/Mac anymore. The cloud is hear to stay and my is it refreshing.