Science and Technology: The Cloud? What is behind the cloud?

portable devices

Thanks to the cloud: online storage and sharing. Expand the possibilities exponentially, especially with mobile devices. Photo: Kristen Klose / dpa-tmn

(Photo: dpa)

If you ask Duden, you will learn: that the cloud is “a network of several distributed computers used in cloud computing.” WL. Cloud permission from computers. The cloud is because IT technicians use this symbol in graphs to visualize external computer systems embedded in their own network.

What about cloud computing? This is then logically “the use of IT infrastructures and services that are not maintained on-site on local computers, but are rented as a service and accessed over a network (such as the Internet),” according to Duden. So these days, cloud computers are always revolving around internet servers, most even entire server farms.

Not only online storage

While companies in particular also largely outsource computing and applications to cloud computers, consumers are primarily concerned with storing and retrieving data in the broadest sense. But the borders are fluid. Even when hosting websites, but especially in cloud gaming, it is not only about external storage, but also about external computing power.

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Many things in everyday life are increasingly interconnected via the cloud. “Networking,” says Marcus Nespel of Xtreme, a network technology company.

With online storage and synchronization services, for example, you can take advantage of distributed and mobile usage options: “Therefore, the cloud is especially worthwhile for everyone who wants to access data from different devices, whether it be from a laptop or a smartphone Or a tablet,” Christian Just of “Computer Bild.”

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The cloud makes you mobile

“Because the cloud is not just a data storage medium, it also centrally manages and saves appointments, notes, addresses, phone numbers, and passwords, and usually automatically creates backup copies of Office documents that are currently being processed,” he just continued. Of course, data in online storage can also be shared with others, such as videos that are too large to attach to mail.

Online storage is especially suitable for everyone who likes to do as much as possible with their smartphone. “It is usually difficult to use hard drives on smartphones and tablets. Cloud storage is more practical, especially since there is often an option, for example, to automatically save new photos in the cloud,” says Christian Just.

And even if the smartphones of cloud users and the like are lost or the time is blessed: the data is also or even exclusively stored on Internet servers and is still available. True local backup on an external storage medium such as USB disks or hard drives cannot replace the cloud either, after all, data can also be lost on internet servers.

Think about coding

Personal and sensitive data is at least best uploaded to online storage only in encrypted form. If the cloud provider does not do this, a program such as Boxcryptor or Cryptomator can be used. Both tools encrypt and decrypt not only on computers, but also on mobile devices.

And what about security? “Trustworthy cloud providers provide data and cloud centers within Europe and Germany, with the goal of complying with applicable data protection guidelines (GDPR) and certifications, and securing their customers’ data in the best possible way,” says Markus Nespel.

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Caution is advised if unknown providers advertise large cloud storage space for free, warns Christian Just. “Companies that advertise with obviously significant free uses shouldn’t have a permanent chance. There is a risk that they will go bankrupt and that you have to painstakingly move all the data – but there is also the risk of providing security.”

cloud makers

Online storage providers are a dime a dozen. Box, Dropbox, Pcloud, Securesafe, Spideroak or Your Secure Cloud are just a few examples. Additionally, mail or operating system providers often have a few gigabytes of free storage built into their free packages, such as Google Drive, Microsoft OneDrive, or Apple iCloud.

“With a Google account, 15 GB of storage is included, with Microsoft it is 5 GB, as well as with Apple in iCloud. If you need more, you can get an additional 50 to 100 GB for 1 to 2 euros per month,” as Christian Just from Computer Bild says.

However, those who shoot and shoot a lot quickly reach their limits, even with large gigabyte packages. According to Just, Flickr is perfect here, offering unlimited storage for €7.49 per month or €66 per year.

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