What Does High-Speed Internet Have to Do with the Cloud?

Marie Flanagan By Marie Flanagan October 5, 2021

Summary: The internet’s cloud system can be a source of confusion. Between all the different acronyms and functions, it’s easy to get lost. EarthLink has your back. We’ll discuss what exactly the cloud is, the different ways it can be used, and five ways that it has impacted our everyday lives. Plus, if you need to use the cloud for backup or smart devices, find out how we can help.

If you can relate to the movie quote, “Nobody understands the cloud! It’s a mystery!” then fear not – this post is for you.

The cloud is made up of servers that are accessed via the internet — and the software and databases that use those servers. The servers themselves are located in data centers all over the world. Each server can communicate with the other one, making the cloud a cohesive experience for users.

The benefit of using cloud computing is that users and companies don’t have to manage their own physical servers, saving both space and money. This is also why you can log in to your email and social media accounts from any device and still see all your messages and posts. Those companies are using the cloud, so nothing is stored locally on your device. This can be a lifesaver if your device breaks or gets lost, because you don’t automatically lose everything that was on it, too!

The concept of cloud computing (or supercomputers) has been around since the late 90s, but the technology is just recently fully realizing its potential. However, if you’re frequently using the cloud — or if you have a lot of connected devices — you’ll want a high-speed internet plan that can keep up. Otherwise, you might get stuck waiting for data to download to your computer — defeating the purpose of clearing up space by using the cloud.

Now you know the basics – let’s get into the nitty gritty of cloud systems.

The Different Types of Cloud Use

Like so much of tech, there’s a variety of acronyms used to discuss cloud computing. We’ll break down a few of the most popular ones here:

  • Software-as-a-Service (SaaS): SaaS applications are hosted on cloud servers and can be accessed across the internet. Some examples are Google Workspace suite, Dropbox, or WebEx.
  • Platform-as-a-Service (PaaS): In PaaS, companies don’t pay for the hosted applications. Instead, they pay for the tools to build their own applications like development tools, infrastructure, and operating systems. Some examples of PaaS are Google App Engine and Windows Azure.
  • Infrastructure-as-a-Service (IaaS): With IaaS, a company rents the server and storage, along with building their own application. Think things like Google Compute Engine and OpenStack.
  • Function-as-a-Serivce (FaaS): FaaS is a newer model, and is also called serverless computing. It breaks down cloud applications into even smaller pieces that only run when needed. They do not run on dedicated machines, and the companies that build the applications don’t have to manage servers. This includes things like Amazon Lambda and IBM Cloud Functions.

Most day-to-day consumers will primarily use SaaS applications — so unless you’re a business owner or developer, you might never run across the other types. Still, technology changes so rapidly and influences more and more of our lives, that it’s beneficial to know the basics.

A green cloud in the center with smaller clouds branching off of it. The smaller clouds each have a symbol inside of them: Facebook, a video, a laptop, a file folder, family, email, settings, and online shopping

Now, let’s dive into how cloud computing has impacted your high-speed internet usage.

How the Cloud has Impacted Everyday Life

It’s safe to say that the cloud has impacted just about every facet of our online lives. Here are just five ways you’ve probably experienced it — and you might not have realized it had to do with cloud computing.

Apps for Everything

Because of the cloud, we can have an app for just about anything. Rather than storing information locally on your device, you simply log in to your account or app, and everything is right there. Whether you’re using mobile deposit for a check, scanning your boarding pass via your phone’s wallet, or using your phone’s GPS to go somewhere new, you’re using the cloud.

That’s also why some apps recommend downloading passes or maps ahead of time. If you’re in an area with unreliable internet access, you might not have enough speed to access the information you need in time. Downloading it takes high-speed internet out of the equation and instead stores a copy on your device itself, so you can access it anytime from just about anywhere.

Nearly Unlimited Storage

As more and more of our lives move online, we need more and more storage — and the cloud offers the option of nearly infinite space. Rather than storing boxes of printed photos and old tax returns in your attic, you can have it all organized and secured on the cloud. Plus, you can automatically back up your devices, so you won’t have to manually transfer your files. This will also save space on your device’s hard drive, which could help it run faster and last longer. That’s a win in our book.

Not sure about the best way to save your digital life? We’ve got the factors to consider when choosing between a hard drive or the cloud.

Easier and More Efficient Collaboration

Gone are the days of emailing attachments back and forth or coordinating times to meet up and work on a project on one device. With filesharing apps like Google Workspace and Microsoft 365, you can work on documents with others in real-time. This has made remote work possible for many industries and has even aided in making group projects easier for college students (and co-workers). Plus, it means you can access your files from anywhere, whether it’s your mobile phone or your work laptop.

More Accessible Healthcare

Not only has the cloud made it more convenient for doctors to file share between floors or departments — instead of faxing records — but it’s also allowed patients to access their own medical records and test results online. This can be helpful if you’ve missed a call from your doctor, if you’re looking to compare results over time, or if you’re getting ready to find a new provider and need to fill out your medical history. Plus, as telehealth coverage and popularity expand, the cloud will only become more useful in the healthcare space.

Smart Devices and Smarter Homes

Do you use any smart devices at your house? Whether it’s a smart fridge, thermostat, doorbell, voice-assisted speaker, or any other connected device, it uses the cloud to connect to your home WiFi network. That can also mean you run into issues if your internet connection is on the fritz. While no internet will work perfectly 100% of the time, make sure you’re opting for a reliable high-speed internet provider.

Thanks to servers all over the world and a redundant backup system, the cloud is secure and allows you to access your files (or accounts) from almost anywhere. If you’re looking for cloud storage for your important files and photos, we can help. Need help connecting all those smart devices to the cloud? We’ve got you covered there, too.

For the cloud to be effective, you’ll need a high-speed internet plan that fits your life. Give our Internet Experts a call today at 866-383-3080 to get started. With no credit checks and no data caps, it’s a no-brainer.

Marie Flanagan

Marie Flanagan

Marie Flanagan is a contributing writer for EarthLink. She’s a life-long Atlantan with a passion for SaaS, IoT, AI, fintech, and everything technology. Her ideal offline situation is volunteering in STEM education for girls or on her front porch with a book.

See all posts from Marie Flanagan.

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