Working with the cloud is both a question of willingness and accessibility. And you would have to go around answering both before you decide to put all your files in the cloud.
Each of us will have an issue with security. It is not a simple step to decide to save important files in such a vague concept as the cloud. So allow me to enlighten you in a nontechnical way.
Working with the cloud means that you will store your information outside your primary device’s memory drive, and store in a server provided by a provider located in a place that is nowhere near you.
Does that sound clearer? I guess not.
Well, there is really no easier way to explain it, except your files are stored remotely in another computer.
Doing so, gives you the real value of working with the cloud, that is, you can access the same information anywhere. As long as there is a computer and there is internet-connection.
Moving on to the next question of accessibility.
I will divide the discussion to three possible users – a PC user, a Mac User and an open source user.
For PC users, the one that I am familiar with is Live Skydrive of Microsoft. It is a simple system that allows you to save your MS Office files (word, excel and powerpoint) in the cloud.
Please refer to this link to get the step-by-step guide to working with Live Skydrive for all PC users — http://techie-buzz.com/how-to/save-word-documents-to-windows-live-skydrive.html .
For those with Apple computers working on MS Office, simply Share your files (not save) to SkyDrive. It will require you to log in and then it automatically saves the file in the cloud.
Access by going through www.live.com, login and click the SkyDrive tab. Your files are there for you to work on.
Best is, you have the option to work on it using any of the MS Office programs you worked on before or use the browser to do so.
For Mac user, you have iCloud. Now the trick to using iCloud is that you have to be working with Apple’s iWork apps and have upgraded your Apple devices with the latest iOS.
When you save the file, you have to option to save in iCloud or on your Mac. Of course, the safest is to save in both environments.
This system works well for me, since it allows access those needed files in any Apple device that has the necessary apps – Pages, Keynote and Numbers.
But the best feature of it for me is that you can access your files using a PC, as long as you have an Apple ID.
Another unique thing about it is, iCloud allows you updated information with your email, notes, address, calendar and reminders, if you are using a PC and not your Mac.
I worked with this system for two weeks, and it helped me a lot. I know that all my files are updated and synced.
For open source users, the one that is popular is Google Docs.
It is a simple system as well, but requires you to have an internet-connection all the time. Access is simple, just create a gmail account, and you can work using the open source programs similar to MS Office.
But I have to warn you that the programs are not as robust in terms of features. Essentially it will get you through what you need to do in simple terms.
For a complete guide on how to use Google Cloud, please refer to this link — http://idiotsguides.com/static/quickguides/computertechnology/cloud_computing_on_google_chrome.html .
I will go into greater detail about each cloud service in the next posts. Please watch out for it.