The way we store data has evolved so quickly over the past several years. Children transitioned from paper reports to floppy disks to rewritable CDs and then to thumb drives. Now, with the cloud, they don’t even have to take a tangible form of media with them. It’s really amazing to think about how much we have fine-tuned our needs for storage and sharing our digital lives. You may not be ready to shuck your thumb drive yet and make the jump to what seems to be a hype known as the cloud. But in reality, cloud storage has been around for a while and is certainly here to stay.
The idea of cloud storage can be traced back to 1969 when computer scientists J.C.R Licklider and John McCarthy separately proposed ideas of computation being delivered as a public utility with everyone on the globe being able to connect and access data at any time and from anywhere. Mr. Licklider was behind the creation of ARPANET which offered universities the ability to access files from remote devices. While this was an amazing first step, the complete vision of these two men wasn’t perfected or fully brought to life until much later. This was due to bandwidth and speed limitations of our then Internet connection technology.
As our computer and Internet connection speeds grew, so did the way we carried data. Cloud storage was always a thought and early developments of what we now use showed up in 1999 with a company that delivered enterprise applications through a single website. While this was great, the technology still wasn’t ready to be used easily and efficiently for the common person. Developments continued to take place and in 2002 Amazon launched a suite of cloud-based technology including storage. Since then, things have grown and become better. There now seems to be a “cloud solution” for every business or person’s needs.
So why has cloud storage just now, especially in the past few years, become such a popular tool when the technology and idea has been around for a while? Again, a great deal of this is based on slow Internet speeds from yesteryear. Perhaps another factor is the feeling of the unknown. With previous forms of storage, we were able to guard our data ourselves. We didn’t need to stress about what happened to our files once they were transferred to the cloud. Safety lied in our own hands and our ability to keep up with our disks or drives. But, along with all the other amazing technological developments we have seen, our computing security has also grown tremendously. Data, through a good cloud provider, is protected all around. During upload, download, and at rest, our data is the safest it has ever been. Perhaps even safer than a keychain thumb drive just waiting to be lost.
It seems that visions from computer scientists of the past have finally come full circle. Families can communicate easier and via a simple website while employees can collaborate on work from their own desks across the building or across the world. Don’t let what seems to be a new technology scare you. Cloud storage is an idea that has been being developed on for 60+ years and has finally reach an amazing level of use and security. There is really no better time to get started and to make your life easier.