Thing 9: The Cloud

In this thing, you’ll develop your understanding of the ‘Cloud’ and explore what opportunities it presents for you, your learning and people who use social services.

Open Badge information

Open Badge: SSSC 23 Things Digital – Thing 9: The Cloud

Introduction

The cloud and cloud computing are commonplace terms but they can be misleading. There is no physical cloud where data is stored. In reality, the cloud is a network of very powerful computers with huge storage capacity, parts of which are made available to individuals and organisations.

Cloud services such as Dropbox, iCloud and Google Drive allow people to store files such as pictures, documents and videos and have access to them from a variety of devices, such as a smartphone, a desktop computer, laptop or tablet as long as there is an internet connection. Most data storage used to involve a device’s local storage, such as a hard drive, or removable storage like DVDs, CDs and memory sticks. In cloud computing, this data is stored on someone else’s equipment.

There are several benefits to this.

  • You always have a backup of your files. If your device breaks down, you don’t lose your data.
  • You don’t need to carry storage media around with you (like USB memory sticks, CDs or DVDs).
  • It’s easy to share files with others and collaborate.

Of course, there are some risks to consider too. While all reputable cloud service providers make great efforts to assure your data security, it can never be 100% guaranteed. Your files could be accessed by others in the event of a cyber-attack on the cloud service you use. If your password is compromised or easy to guess then you also run the risk of someone accessing your data. Some people are using the cloud without realising it – particularly smartphone users. It’s worth checking to see if your phone is backing up your photos to the cloud. For many people, their most frequent interaction with the cloud is when they upload photos to a social media website.

Instructions

a) Read the following Beginner’s Guide to the Cloud article.

b) Upload a file to the Cloud.

WARNING: DO NOT UPLOAD ANY CONFIDENTIAL OR ORGANISATION-SENSITIVE MATERIAL TO THE CLOUD SERVICES OUTLINED BELOW. THIS WOULD VERY LIKELY CONSTITUTE A DATA PROTECTION BREACH AND COULD LEAD TO DISCIPLINARY ACTION.

Apple users

You probably already have a free iCloud account. Log in using your Apple ID and see what, if anything, you have stored there. Try uploading a file and accessing it on a different device.

Google users

If you have a Google account, you can log in and explore your free Google Drive. Do you have anything stored there already? Try uploading a file and accessing it on a different device.

Dropbox.

One of the most popular cloud storage platforms is Dropbox. You can sign up for a free account and try uploading a file. Once you’ve done this, try accessing it on a different device.

c) Blog.

Write a blog entry of at least 100 words on what you have learned about the cloud and how you think it might support your practice and learning. Consider the people who use you service and what advice and support you might offer them regarding their use of cloud technology.

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