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The Cloud That Is Shaping Our Lives

The Cloud That Is Shaping Our Lives
More and more, the computers in our day-to-day use are becoming invisible. We seldom take a moment realize that every time we use a search engine to find something on the Internet that we are in fact using a billion-dollar computer network. 

“Cloud computing” as a term is the metaphor for an enormously vast and complicated network of computers, servers, cyber-optic cables, and software engineers, with which we normally do not interact, yet forms a vital part of our daily routines. Every time we upload a picture on Facebook or use our smartphone to download music, we are in fact using a Cloud computing service.

As the days go by, we are increasingly becoming part of the cyber-world and therefore it is good to understand its basics. As mentioned above, the metaphor “Cloud” stands for a distant network that we may not be able to touch or interact with but which greatly affect our lives. Cloud computing is divided into three basic services:

1. Infrastructure, also referred to as the “base-layer,” which includes the physical infrastructure such as servers, storage drives, cables, routers, and related facilities. Organizations benefit from pay-as-you-go on-demand storage and hosting, which gives them the flexibility to easily scale their capacity back-and-forth as needs increase or decrease over time.

2. The platform is the “middle layer” and consists of the operating system, or the programming language, and webservers, which the application developers use to run their software.


3. Software is the “top layer,” the software applications that are now also called Apps, that have been specifically developed for use on our computers and smartphones, for which users pay a fee to use certain software.

More and more our daily life is going on line. Progressively, utility companies are encouraging us to open on-line accounts so we can download, review, and pay our bills from the comfort of our home or on the road. More and more, merchants prefer debit cards to checks. On-line shopping has evolved from special occasion use to daily use; it is possible in some countries to order groceries for delivery to one’s home at one’s convenience, even on a daily basis for basic needs such as bread, milk, and eggs.

In the media world, almost all newspapers offer on-line versions of the print paper and the prediction is that in the near future, there will be more on-line subscribers than conventional print version subscriptions. On-line entertainment and information are also steadily replacing physical forms such as printed books, DVDs, CDs, etc.  The use of technology for news and entertainment has stretched in both directions—to both the young and the old. Many people are amazed to see very young children so adept with computer technology and enjoy seeing older people stretch their boundaries by sending email, surfing the Internet, reading a book on a tablet, etc. 

As for Cloud storage, one of the developments to show a steady increase is the use of Cyber Vaults.

To avoid the security breach of using the same password for all sites and keep track of and have all the passwords handy for use when needed, more and more we people are moving towards the use of Virtual or Cyber Vaults. A Cyber Vault is an application that you can download on your smartphone, tablet, or computer to safely store and retrieve passwords and other confidential information. 

As is the case with in many other situations, legislative developments are failing to keep pace with these technological developments. In many of the service agreements that govern the numerous digital accounts that we are opening, it typically states that no other person can access the account without the permission of the service provider. Our recommendation is that legislators consider adapting a legal framework in order for heirs and executors can get control over on-line accounts and assets. After all, it could be that the Cyber Vault contains more valuables than the physical vault in your residence or bank!

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