Cloud storage and cloud computing are similar in that they both use the internet to store and access data. Sometimes the terms are even used interchangeably, but a few key differences around what happens with data distinguish these important services.
For any business looking to migrate data from a hardware system over to the cloud, it’s vital to understand the difference between cloud storage and cloud computing so that the right service gets purchased.
Take a minute to think about cloud storage. What comes to mind? Storing things like photos, videos, or documents? Maybe you think of Dropbox or another popular cloud storage service that allows you to share photos and videos with people you love. But many businesses are using Dropbox, eDocs, and other cloud storage services for more than simple documents. Sensitive business data can be shared via these kinds of services, which is a significant change in business practice over the last few years.
In essence, cloud storage is just what it sounds like—using the cloud (in an internet application) to store information. It’s great because you don’t have to use up precious space on your computer to store data, you can just drop it into your cloud application.
But there’s another component to cloud storage. You can also share data. Storing information is one thing, but sharing is an additional element that identifies the full range of cloud storage services. Have you ever sent a new photo album to a friend? Or run out of space on your phone for photos, so you used an app to store them? These are all examples of cloud storage services.
So, take what you’ve learned about cloud storage and add to it. Cloud computing first requires you to upload data into the cloud, which is a cloud storage process. But cloud computing differs because it allows users to manipulate that data. For example, you can do real processes in a third-party application instead of having to do it on your own computer’s space.
Sound complicated? Not so much. Facebook is a great example—you can not only store and share your photos there, but you can also upload your own statuses or indicate where you’re at, who you’re with, and so on. Basically, you can use the service to do much more than just store information.
Of course, there are more complicated forms of cloud computing. One example may involve adding data to the cloud where you can carry out a coding process on the application itself. Cloud computing offers a wide variety of remote services, whether it’s something everyone uses daily or a more complicated process used by businesses.
But as with all services, cloud computing has certain requirements. For one, cloud computing takes more processing power than a simple cloud storage service. The cloud storage services, on the other hand, typically require more raw space.
Another difference is that they are designed for particular end users. Often, cloud storage is targeted at individuals for personal use, while cloud computing is more for businesses and for completing the processes involved.
Both cloud storage and cloud computing services are quickly working their way into business and professional industries. Understanding what defines each of them is important when you are planning or purchasing the right fit for your business. Remember to think about cloud as a progression. Cloud storage includes uploading, storing, and sharing information, but cloud computing takes it to the next level by allowing you to work with the data.