Are You Making the Most of “Cloud” Resources?
Do You Have Confidence in the Cloud?
Or are you like me?
When I first heard about all the apps and cloud storage, I thought…
That’s crazy! I want my files under my control, on my own hard drive, where I am in control of their security!”
What if they get hacked?
What if they get bought out?
What if they go out of business?
And, back when cloud storage was in it’s first generation, these were valid concerns… I had read some articles highlighting the “fine print” of early cloud service “use policies.” One tech writer pointed out that an early Cloud service buried deep in their “policies” that anything you saved in their cloud became their property! Yikes! No wonder I was skeptical!
Once this service was called out by the tech media, other early cloud platforms quickly changed their use policies to explicitly state that “your data was always your data” — before the media could investigate them! It was all a positive result for end users in the long run.
But, then, things changed!
First of all, I started using Evernote…
Initially, I started off “small” intending to use it on a trial basis. I installed the desktop apps on my desktop and laptop computers. However, after several weeks of use, I realized it was really indispensable and downloaded the Evernote apps to my iPhone and iPad.
One of the biggest initial draws for me was their “Web Clipper” add-on to every major browser. I am a writer, and in the course of my everyday work, I constantly read and research online (for my tech business and you, dear reader). The promise of being to easily and quickly save research information in some central place, with tags that let me find it again, was immensely useful!
Then, earlier this year, I bought a Samsung Chromebook (the $249 variety).
That was a game-changer! As a reminder, the Chromebook only runs the Chrome browser, and everything you access must be “in the cloud;” I soon realized how much “cloud computing” made sense.
One particular example really drove this home:
I had set up an articles’ log in Excel on my laptop, which remains on my kitchen table (it’s too heavy to lug around to Starbucks). When I went to work at Starbucks one morning (with my 2-pound Chromebook), I realized the spreadsheet wasn’t in the cloud and what I wanted to work on would have to wait…
It was frustrating…all the way around. When I got back home, I couldn’t remember where on my home network the file was…
Was it on my laptop or on my desktop?
Turns out I had two files, but had forgotten to update one and actually had overwritten the newer one with the old version of the file! Yikes! Too complicated!
So, I finally (fortunately) found a pristine copy of the newest version, saved it immediately up to my Google Drive (which also syncs changes immediately), so I wouldn’t have that problem again. (BTW, shameless Google promotion: Google gives you free 2 GB on Google Drive with the purchase of any Chromebook.)
Then, it occurred to me that I might have the same problem with various other files…I’m a huge user of Microsoft Office, especially Word (for Windows). I draft directly in Word when I’m writing e-books and downloadable content that I then convert to PDFs. Because my Chromebook runs only the Chrome browser, I can’t use Word or any other non-browser applications. No problem! Google Docs work great, and they read Word, Excel, and PowerPoint files just fine…
My point is that with cloud apps, I have all my data that I’m working on wherever I go…and I’m usually working from either my iPad or my Chromebook. The Chromebook has a full keyboard, so when it’s typing-intensive, that’s my mobile device of choice.
Cloud Computing is Perfect if You Are Mobile!
Since many freelancers — any many SMBs — not only work from home, but often find themselves working “on the road,” cloud computing is a huge time saver. I’ve even posted a new idea to Evernote on my iPhone when waiting in line or in an office lobby awaiting an appointment! I wouldn’t want to do any heavy typing on my iPhone, but the fact that I can enter a quick note — right now, wherever I happen to be — means I won’t forget it.
Do you use any Cloud services? Which ones are your favorites? Have you had any problems with Cloud? Share them in the Comments below…