A Cloud Guide: The Benefits Of Cloud Computing

The acceleration of cloud computing has brought a variety of changes to many different industries. There are concerns of course, as many large companies and enterprises are hesitant to give up paper and move their company into the digital realm. Often, this hesitation concerns money or security and sometimes it's just the thought of such a big change in the way a company performs its business. Others worry about the impact of cloud computing on the IT department. However, these concerns have been largely overblown. The benefits of cloud computing are too big to ignore and we are going to look at some of the top benefits of cloud computing.

Cloud computing saves time and money

One of the many misconceptions that people have about the cloud is that it will cost more time and money to transfer all files and documents to the cloud. Moving documents to the cloud is a fast process. Any files and documents that are already in digital format can simply be uploaded to the cloud storage account. To transfer paper files to the cloud simply consists of scanning paper documents to a computer file and then uploading them to the cloud storage account.

It saves money as the company will require a smaller IT staff and small businesses may actually only need an IT consultant they can call when needed. It will vastly lessen the costs of buying new hardware, upgrading hardware, maintaining hardware and purchasing additional storage space. It saves on physical storage space as all files will be stored in the cloud. No bulky file cabinets or storage rooms are needed. All upgrades and maintenance are performed by the cloud storage provider. Paper and printing costs will be eliminated or vastly reduced.

Cloud computing brings efficiency with BYOD

Cloud computing has brought us the BYOD (Bring Your Own Device) movement. With BYOD, companies allow their employees to perform company work and access company files on their personal devices, such as smartphones and tablets. One of the main benefits of BYOD is that many employees can work remotely and no longer need to make costly and time-consuming trips to and from the office every day. While security has been a concern in this movement, IT departments have implemented monitoring software in the personal devices to ensure that company data is not being abused. However, users are not particularly fond of this intrusion as their personal text messages and photos could possibly be read during the monitoring process. To combat this, many employees have begun carrying two phones, one for personal and one for work. However, this is not very efficient or cost-effective.

Because of the BYOD movement, Samsung implemented Knox Security into the Samsung S4, a trend that's sure to take off among other phone manufacturers. This added security feature enables the phone to be split into two separate sections- one for personal use and one for business use. This means that all company data remains secured in the business section while personal SMS messages, photos and other data remains free from the IT department's security monitoring.

Cloud Computing offers easier sharing and searching

Sharing files is made simple with cloud computing as files can be shared among multiple users by simply dragging and dropping files or documents into a shared folder. Once a file is dropped into a shared folder, it is then uploaded to the cloud storage provider's servers and sent out to all users that have the shared folder installed on their computer or device.

Cloud computing makes searching for files and folders a quick and simple process. Forget searching through huge storerooms with thousands of folders, all files within a cloud storage account can be searched within seconds. There are even apps such as CloudMagic that allow users to search across many different cloud services. This works well if your company is using multiple cloud storage providers such as Google Drive, SkyDrive, Dropbox and more.

Cloud computing provides stronger security

This is one of the largest misconceptions about the cloud. Many people feel that the cloud does not offer adequate security of company data. With the strong security features that cloud storage providers offer, the strength of cloud security is up to the user. Strong passwords and the use of additional security measures such as two-factor authentication help keep data secure. All competent cloud storage providers use strong encryption during transfer and storage of data. Cloud security has become advanced enough that the U.S. Defense Department is moving to the cloud.

Cloud computing offers complete security from natural disasters such as fire, flood, hurricanes, tornadoes, etc. If a company's physical location is destroyed by a natural disaster, all company files and folders remain intact, safely stored away in cloud servers. And if you’re worried about the cloud storage servers getting hit by a natural disaster, there are cloud storage backup services such as cloudHQ, which provides a continuous backup of all data. It can even sync files across a variety of cloud storage providers.

The cloud is here to stay

Increasing cloud and mobile trends are showing us that cloud computing is not going away. Mobile use is expected to overtake desktop computer use within the next year or so. The benefits of cloud computing include cost-reduction, time-management, easier and more efficient business performance and productivity, and better security. With benefits such as these, the cloud has already become too big to ignore.


CloudMagic - How To Search The Entire Cloud

If you're like me, you probably have data spread across a number of cloud storage services such as Dropbox, Box, Google Drive, etc. Hopefully you're a lot more organized with your data than I am with mine, because at times I do find myself utilizing the search function of the cloud service.

Many of us use cloudHQ as a way to sync all of our data from various cloud services into one cloud backup account, which also allows easy searching because all of our files are backed up to one centralized service which can be easily searched. 

CloudMagic can search across many devices, including email

But maybe you don't use cloudHQ and perhaps all of your data is spread out over many different services. If you want to be able to search all of your files from a large number of cloud services, you may want to check out CloudMagic. CloudMagic allows users to search files stored in Gmail and Google apps, Google Drive, Twitter, Facebook, Dropbox, SkyDrive, Evernote, Box, Microsoft Exchange, Office 365, Hotmail, Outlook.com, MSN, Windows Live, Yahoo, iCloud, GMX, AOL and Mail.com. Multiple accounts of any of these services can be used as well.

Any data stored with CloudMagic is kept on Amazon Web Services (AWS). All concerns about privacy or security of data and information are addressed in the Privacy Policy

How to use CloudMagic

Simple searches can be performed using a person's name, a company name, a phrase you remember from a tweet, etc. For a more advanced search, you can use Operators.

CloudMagic offers a free plan which allows users 50 views per month. One view is described as clicking on a search result, which gives you an instant preview of your data. If you need more than 50 views, CloudMagic offers a premium plan which is currently only $4.99 per month for unlimited views.

CloudMagic offers apps for Android, iOS, Kindle Fire, Windows Phone and Windows 8. It also offers browser extensions for Chrome, Firefox, Safari and IE. Keep up with CloudMagic on Twitter and Facebook.

CloudMagic offers an excellent service which covers a wide range of services. Sign up for the free plan so you can try it out and upgrade later if necessary.


BitTorrent Sync Takes Byte Out Of Cloud

According to the BitTorrent blog, BitTorrent Sync which has been undergoing beta testing since January, is now open to public use. BitTorrent Sync allows users to send an unlimited number of files between their own devices or sync files and folders with other users. There is no cloud-based hardware that the files are stored on, the connection is P2P- directly between the computers that are syncing the data. This also means that, depending on your network plan and connection, files can be transferred at blazing speed- as fast as your network can handle.

Why do I need BitTorrent Sync?

Perhaps you just don't trust cloud storage services such as Dropbox, Box, Google Drive, iCloud, etc. There have been security incidents involving many of the most popular cloud storage providers and a direct connection between computers is a safer approach to file transfer. If a direct connection between computers is not possible, a relay server is used with 256-bit encryption and another feature (an encryption secret) that allows your data to be read only by your authorized device.

You can use BitTorrent Sync as a remote backup plan or it can be used simply as a safe, secure file-sharing platform to transfer large files. While most cloud storage providers limit file sizes, BitTorrent Sync actually encourages larger files- the only limits are the size of storage on the device you are transferring to.

So how does BitTorrent Sync work?

It's very simple. Download BitTorrent Sync here. Start the program, select the folder you wish to sync and generate a 21-byte encryption secret, which authorizes the link between the various devices. Simply install BitTorrent Sync on your other devices, input the same encryption secret, and your link to sync will be setup between the devices. More detailed information can be found on the BitTorrent Sync User Guide.

There have been many changes since the pre-alpha release in January, many new features have been implemented and many features have undergone major revisions. Since the program is still in alpha phase, many more changes are sure to happen in the upcoming months.