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As computer technology has evolved, we have amassed a variety of computing devices we use daily: office computers, home computers, notebooks, smartphones, servers and tablets. Each is loaded with software applications such as Microsoft Word that can be used to write a document. But your ability to access a stored document may be limited to what device you are using and whether it has the application software needed to retrieve it. Imagine saving a document and being able to get it no matter where you are or what device you are using. If you change a document using your home computer, the document can be accessed from the office computer tomorrow without emailing it to yourself. Every change you make, every document you create, modify or delete is kept safe in the “clouds” instead of your own computer. If you add an appointment to your calendar while in New York, your office staff in California can immediately see the appointment that you just created using your iPhone.
Where are the clouds?
You may wonder where to find these clouds. You may already be using them. Anyone who has a Gmail, AOL or Yahoo account is already computing in the clouds. Facebook and other social media networks are other prime examples of cloud computing. You can access these accounts from anywhere at any time and they are fully functional whether using your smartphone, tablet or computer. PC Magazine predicts in the future a device such as a digital photo frame will become a “photo hub.” Pictures stored on the frame in your living room will be available on all your devices, including your TV, since all images can be shared via cloud technology.
FASTTRAK Technologies CEO Eddie McCoy says cloud computing gives technology users more flexibility in adjusting their company infrastructure based on economic conditions.
Basically, cloud computing is using someone else’s servers, such as Google, to store, maintain, and access your data. Companies such as Google, Yahoo and AOL maintain vast computer centers worldwide where the computers constantly sync data from one location to the next. When you check your Gmail account, the server closest to your device is located and provides the information requested. If you delete an email after reading it, the server you just deleted from will delete the same email from all other servers around the world and remain synced together. Even if a natural disaster struck one location, it is impossible to wipe out your data because of the duplication of multiple servers in many locations. FASTTRAK Technologies, an industry pioneer in cloud computing, uses Microsoft’s SQL Azure Cloud Global Data Centers that have been strategically situated around the world to maximize global reach, says Eddie McCoy, CPA and CEO/Founder of FASTTRAK Technologies.
Have you ever wanted to show someone a photo that you know you have but can’t find on the device you are using? Maybe it is in the Pictures Folder on your home computer or maybe it is at the office or even on your phone. With cloud computing, you can access it from any device anywhere and store it on a cloud server instead of on any of your devices.
If you have a document written in Word, you only can access that document if the device you are using has the Word application program on it to open the Word document. With cloud computing, your application program (Word) is also in the cloud. So you can access and open your document from any device and designate any Web-enabled printer to be a part of your cloud network. You can print a document in your office although you may be thousands of miles away. All of your contact information can be shared with anyone you want by giving them access to your cloud. If you change a telephone number, everyone that has access to the contact information is updated at the same time the moment you make the change. Likewise, you can purchase a song from iTunes from your smartphone and the moment it is downloaded you can play it from your home computer, your office computer, or your phone with no further interaction on your part.