30 Sep 2014

Understanding “the Cloud”

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Understanding “the Cloud”

You hear the term everywhere, but what exactly is “the Cloud”? You may have found yourself wondering if the Cloud is really important, or if it’s just a way to promote the next new thing. Over the next several months, we’ll be explaining the world of the Cloud to you in a series of informative articles.

The Cloud is shorthand for cloud computing. It’s not one single technology, but a set of technologies that, together, offer a fundamentally new way of computing. It may help to understand the importance of the Cloud by comparing it to technology you already know.

Think of cloud computing as being like a highway. Highways were built using many separate technologies and provided never-before-possible ways of connecting populations. Highways changed people’s lives because they affected the development of cities, traffic, travel and so much more.

The Cloud has had a similar impact in the world of computing. When people talk about the Cloud, they’re referring to a type of computing based on shared or networked resources. The ability to share resources has created tremendous economies of scale, making possible what was previously impossible.

The Cloud also allows for a speed and scale of computing that is altogether different from what even the fastest and most powerful single computer can do. Again, think of how a highway differs from a road. It’s not just that the highway is wider or uses a distinct type of gravel that distinguishes it. It’s all the things that highways allow people to do.

As cloud computing has been adopted by more and more companies, it’s re-shaped numerous areas of technology – even case administration software. Everything from software to servers to computer security has been affected by the switch to the Cloud.

The Cloud has also changed the way the public interacts with computers and the web. You’ve probably heard about software that exists “in the Cloud” or data that’s stored “in the Cloud” – now even CaseLink is available “in the Cloud.” In our next article in this series, we’ll explain how the Cloud changes software you use every day.

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