Our world seems to be dominated today by a requirement for convenience. Entire industries are built around providing quickly accessible files, information, and entertainment. We can see these items most prominently in mobile phones, applications, and social media. Most articles highlight these items are the prime examples of our society’s lack of patience and critical indicators for consumer trends, but what about the business community? These same people who use phones and social media every day are also working every day. Just as these people want access to articles or social media in a snap, they not only want but now need as well as expect to have access to their files quickly. This is achieved through the cloud.
Prior to the presence of mobile technology, access to data was difficult. For centuries, the entire population relied on storing their most precious pieces of information on pieces of paper. Regardless of your place in society, you used this same necessary information storing tool. With this method of storage came difficulty relocating, large physical storage requirements, and the constant uneasiness that a simple drip of water can ruin intellectual and propriety property worth millions in some cases or irreplaceable sentimental value in others. For years, the “evolution” of this information storage method was restricted to advanced ideas such as cardboard boxes with small hand cutouts and ugly bulky metal file cabinets. Then came the modern technological revolution of the 1900s. The slow progress of centuries of work resulted in the creation of the contemporary computer and later its ancillary outside storage devices in the 1960s and 1970s, with the widespread market creation of the first removable mobile storage device, the floppy disk by IBM. Suddenly storage technology progress hockey-sticked up in a curve of evolution that continues to this day.
The floppy disk quickly transformed into the cd and later the USB drive (or flash drive). In the parallel path to this, heavy file storage was transferred into technology when large file rooms disappeared in favor of server racking. Initial racking was extensive and space-consuming, but these servers repeatedly shrunk from multiple large units to service a large office into often one simple server holding many thousands of files.
These new technologies were great; however, they brought their own challenges. While convenience was now created, space was still consumed. Mobile technology still required an additional item you had to carry with you, while massive storage still involved dedicating specific areas of space to accommodate servers. With people now carrying other mobile devices such as phones or laptops, the last thing we needed was one more item. Office space is not cheap, and server rooms take up valuable square footage while also having many ancillary costs. These costs can include: construction costs to implement cooling and wiring to the server rooms, dedicated back up power in the event of a power failure your data won’t be lost, and oftentimes even an entire workforce of people whose sole job existence revolves around making sure the boxes in the closet work ok and are updated.
It seems like a lot of work just for storage, and the world quickly recognized this. With mobile flash drives continually being lost, people figured out soon that a logical alternative is to use the item they rarely use but are always carrying around – the smartphone. Sophisticated applications exist, allowing data to be accessed at all times at almost any location with the click of a button. In addition, by using the cloud, you do not need actually to save the files to your handheld device – rather, they are only accessed from the handheld but stored in the cloud. This permits your device to still function without being weighed down by enormous files, the best of both worlds.
Larger server rooms dealt with a variety of issues. Most companies are not equipped to handle oversight of sophisticated storage technology, nor do they want to be. Companies want to focus on what they do, not what they don’t, which most of the time includes storage technologies. By saving files to the cloud, you eliminate wasted space, employee overhead, equipment risk, and having to dedicate part of your company’s time to make sure these technologies are updated and valid.
By utilizing cloud storage, companies actually save money versus keeping these elements in the house more often than not. Cloud companies have massive economies of scale which pass on to each consumer while also providing technology that is continuously updated, secure, and backed up at affordable costs. In addition, the cloud storage market is a competitive market, meaning technologies and products are continually being updated, to the benefit of the consumer. Using cloud technology is a no brainer, which explains why the industry as a whole has shifted in this direction.