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  • General

    What is the cloud?

    In this course, you’ll learn what it means when something is described as being “in the Cloud”. You’ll find out how the cloud works, what you can do with it, and where your personal information is stored and kept safe.


    Welcome to 'What is the cloud?' When you use a computer, a mobile, a smart device, or an app, there's a good chance that the cloud is a big part of what you do. When you do a web search, or use social media, you're using the cloud. When you watch YouTube, or catch-up TV, or make a video call, you're using the cloud. And when you send an email with Gmail, or use a mapping app, that's right, you're using the cloud. So what exactly is the cloud? The cloud is simply a word for computer services that store or process data on the internet rather than on your device.

    Cloud services run on special computers called servers. Hundreds or thousands of these servers are gathered together in buildings called data centres, which provide these services. One of the most common types of cloud service involves data storage. These services keep your important files, photos, videos, contact lists, calendars, and more online instead of on your computer or mobile device. Cloud storage is a useful way to free up space on your devices and back-up your most vital files. Having important files backed up in the cloud means you won't lose everything if your computer or mobile device stops working or becomes lost, and makes it quick and easy to copy what you need to a new device. And with your data saved in the cloud, you don't need to remember which device has the file you want. You can access all your stored files from almost any device with an internet connection.

    To keep your data in the cloud, you need an account with a cloud storage service. Your cloud account keeps your files secure with your username and password. And if you have a Windows, Android or Apple device, chances are you already have a cloud account and storage with Microsoft's OneDrive, Google Drive or Apple's iCloud. These provide limited free storage for your files and you can buy more if you need it. You can also free up space in your cloud storage by moving files to a hard drive for safe keeping at home, or simply deleting files you no longer need. With the cloud, all your important files, photos, and more are stored securely. And as long as you have an internet connection, you can access what you need, no matter where you are or what device you're using.