Conducting your computer activities through the cloud is quickly getting more and more popular. In 2012, the cloud computing market generated $100 billion in revenue. Market research expects that this will reach $270 billion by 2020.
What do “cloud computing” and “the cloud” really mean? Definitions can get complicated, especially when you consider the different forms of cloud computing. To put things simply, cloud computing is storing and accessing your data over an Internet connection rather than on your computer’s physical hard drive. You have to store data somewhere, of course, so the cloud refers to this location, which it makes accessible through the Internet.
With that in mind, what exactly can you do through cloud computing? How does it affect your Internet connection?
Types of Activities
Do you want to access your files from anywhere, rather than having to log into the same computer all the time? Cloud computing does that for you. Do you want to share pictures with family members in an instant? Cloud computing can do that.
What about online banking, social media activities, or playing multiplayer video games over the Internet? These are also considered cloud computing. If it involves storing and transferring data through the Internet that would normally be on your computer’s hard drive, it is cloud computing. Even using your email account to store large items for on-demand access counts.
Due to unfamiliarity with the term, many people do not realize that they are already using cloud computing in their daily lives. As technology continues to advance, we can safely assume that cloud computing will continue to grow in popularity and have an even larger impact on our online activities.
For now, however, let’s focus on cloud storage services such as Google Drive and Dropbox. Many activities performed on the Internet, like using a Facebook account, are free apart from having an Internet connection. Cloud storage, on the other hand, can be a little different.
Cloud Storage Costs
Some cloud storage services offer a limited amount of free space before they start charging users for the files they save on the cloud. Microsoft’s OneDrive, for example, will offer five gigabytes of free storage in 2016, and Google Drive currently offers 15 gigabytes.
If you are looking for more storage than what each service offers free, then how much will it cost you? The major cloud storage services—OneDrive, Dropbox, Google Drive, Box, Copy, and Amazon Cloud Drive—all operate on a monthly or annual subscription.
The price for storage depends on the amount of storage you require. For example, Amazon Cloud Drive charges 60 dollars each year for unlimited files, which works out to five dollars each month. Google Drive, Copy, and Dropbox all offer one terabyte of storage for 10 dollars each month. OneDrive offers the smallest amount of cloud storage, 50 gigabytes, at two dollars per month.
While the listed prices are not astronomical when you first look at them, there are still things you need to consider. Two dollars each month for a service that enables you to access your content from any computer seems quite cheap.
However, remember the services limit the amount of storage you receive for those two dollars. You may not have enough for everything that you want to save. This means you will need to upgrade your service to get more cloud storage space.
The costs begin to add up as the amount of data storage space you require grows, as well as with each month. 10 dollars each month is 100 dollars each year, putting the amount you are actually spending into perspective.
Internet Connection Costs
Regardless of how you are using the cloud—whether it is for data storage, an application such as Microsoft Office 365 or Google Docs, or a virtual desktop—it will have an impact on your Internet connection. The cloud requires a certain amount of your Internet bandwidth. Streaming high-definition video, for example, requires up to 1.8Mbits per second.
It will always use some data every month. You are uploading information to the Internet when you save a file in your cloud storage system, and downloading information when you access it. Using the cloud is quite convenient as you can access you data from any computer provided you go through the application.
For simple text documents, the amount of data you use is often quite small. However, if you are storing many different picture and video files in Google Drive, or another application? You will find that you use up more data quicker.
Some cloud storage options also give you the option of sharing files with another person through their application, another major convenience. Keep in mind that this often means your data will synchronize with theirs, using up data even when you are not actively using your cloud storage.
If you do a significant amount of cloud computing, particularly with Microsoft Online and Google Docs, chances are high you will require an Internet connection with a higher bandwidth allowance. You will face overage charges when you exceed your limit without sufficient data.
Internet service providers charge more for their packages with more data. Essentially, they count on people upgrading their monthly service or paying high overage charges if they happen to exceed their limits.
This is exactly where Billshark can help in the age of cloud computing. We are in the perfect position to negotiate with your Internet service provider to reduce the amount of money you pay on your bill each month. Permitting us to negotiate on your behalf demonstrates to your provider that you are serious about saving money.
After our successful negotiations, we split the first year of savings with you. You will have more room to use your Internet connection comfortably without worrying about the cost of your bill at the end of each month.