It's one of the biggest buzzwords of business journalism and advertising in 2014: what is "the cloud," and what exactly can it do for you? Though to the unfamiliar the term may seem meaningless, working with the cloud may very well be worthy of the hype it has generated. To begin with, "the cloud" is not actually a new concept: the idea of remote storage of data has technically been around for some time, though many businesses are just now using the cloud to its potential. Essentially, rather than maintaining storage systems on-site, an off-site storage facility is used to house the hardware itself. Then, the data can be accessed online, manipulated instantly, and saved back to these remote servers. This simple function - being able to store data physically in one place while easily accessing it from another - has, with recently technology, only become more convenient. Many of the advantages of employing cloud computing are quite clear. For instance, depending on the actual setup, employees and customers might not be dependent on a single server to access cloud data. Likewise, companies who are using the cloud will find that they are able to offer their customers more flexibility: rather than selling a piece of hardware that might be too large or inadequate, a company can charge based on how much storage space is actually need. Cloud storage also offers a sense of security based on the fact that the actual data can be stored off-site in a secure location. In the event of a physical disaster, data stored remotely will not be lost as a result of damage to the office. Finally, related to flexibility, remote storage allows for access to the cloud from nearly anywhere: no one is chained to a particular desk to access their data.Of course, there are still a number of aspects to take into account to ensure that using the cloud for data storage will meet your needs properly. For one thing, the data is not simply disappearing into the ether, as it still requires a physical storage space; this space just happens to be offsite. It is of the utmost importance that these physical locations are both disaster-proof and quite secure. Additionally, businesses offering access to the cloud will often have different pricing options that are dependent on ease of access and the actual amount of storage available. Make sure that you research different options carefully to ensure that the many advantages of cloud computing don't disappear before a wall of costs.Overall, there is much to be optimistic about in the realm of cloud computing. As use of the cloud for data storage becomes increasingly popular, it can be expected that the technology that makes remote storage so convenient will continue to advance. At the very least, consider using the cloud as a backup for the data stored on your hardware. You may find it so convenient that you seek out cloud computing alone for all of your storage needs.If you or your business are interested in cloud, feel free to give us a call or contact one of your account managers.