How we love to squeeze the cloud for all it’s worth

The holiday season is yet another opportunity to consider how much influence cloud computing has in our lives. For example, have you:

•  Sent holiday greetings and family photos using your Facebook or Gmail account?

•  Purchased any gifts from amazon.com or other online stores?

•  Downloaded and watched a favorite holiday movie or TV show from Netflix?

•  Downloaded a new or favorite holiday song from iTunes on your handheld device?

If you have, then you have benefited from the cloud.

Although all of us are taking advantage of the cloud, do we ever consider how different life would be without it? For example, what happens when the weather turns bad? Are we prepared for a bad day of cloud computing?

Will your holiday greetings and sharing of family photos be delayed? Will your online order arrive late? Will you be watching “It’s a Wonderful Life” after the holidays? Will you be tapping your fingers wondering when you’ll get to hear “It’s the Most Wonderful Time of the Year”?

Come again?

Believe it or not, lots of people (to be exact, 51 percent of 1,000 people surveyed) think that bad weather affects cloud computing. And of those 1,000 people surveyed, 95 percent don’t think that they use the cloud. These are the same people who:

•  Bank online

•  Shop online

•  Use social networking such as Facebook and Twitter

•  Store photos online

•  Store music online

•  Play online games

Granted, the Wakefield Research survey was conducted more than two years ago; however, even today many who regularly use the cloud aren’t always aware that they are in fact enjoying many everyday conveniences because of the cloud.

Surprisingly, some university students aren’t sure what the cloud is. Surprising because it is students who have embraced the benefits of the cloud perhaps more enthusiastically than any other single group. Yet when a senior executive veteran of the IT industry asked (via a Skype call!) a group of university students enrolled in a digital journalism class if they had ever used the public cloud, no hands went up. Eventually, one student tentatively offered up “Google Docs?”

Those of us who use the cloud and can also define what the cloud is and the countless benefits it provides—such as backing up our data and safeguarding it should  it ever need to be restored—need to do a better job of educating the masses that the cloud is an important part of life. All of us use the cloud and benefit from it greatly every day.

Some will continue to define the cloud as a “fluffy white thing.” Others will define it as a place to store, access, and share data using their Internet-connected device. But all will continue to enjoy life made easier and more enjoyable because of the cloud—even if Buffalo gets another five feet of snow.

So, if you haven’t already done so, now might be the perfect time to download “The Christmas Song” by Nat King Cole.

Happy holidays.