Everyone’s talking about “the cloud.” In 2010, Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer said, “Our industry is going through quite a wave of innovation and it’s being powered by a phenomenon which is referred to as the cloud.” Cloud computing, like the modern electrical grid, makes our plugged-in lifestyles easier. No more flash drives, wasteful paper, or expensive external hard drives. With the cloud, all of your information is stored on the web, accessible from anywhere.
Here’s how it works: instead of saving files to your hard drive, cloud users save their files to the website offering the service. GoogleDocs is one of the more well-known examples of cloud-based service. The information itself (documents, photos, whatever) is stored on a server owned by the company hosting the cloud service, making it accessible from any web browser.
Cloud technology has revolutionized the business world. Marc Benihoff, CEO of Salesforce.com, said “The cloud is for everyone. The cloud is a democracy.” In 2011, International Data Corporation (IDC) projected that “the cloud computing model will dominate growth for the next 20 years.” Even U.S. federal agencies now have a “Cloud First” policy, requiring them to adopt cloud-based solutions whenever possible.
As Americans, we’re generally a skeptical bunch. We don’t trust our PCs to keep information safe. We don’t trust our phones. We don’t trust our companies, the government, or neighbors. Some people don’t even trust their families. But despite our lack of trust in people and devices, we seem to have placed a huge amount of trust in the cloud. It keeps our information safe. Accessible from anywhere. Secure.
In ancient literature, clouds symbolized divine presence and guidance — help for people who trust in a higher power. Thousands of years ago, a cloud enveloped Moses on Mount Sinai , and from within it Moses heard the voice of God. After the Israelites left Egypt, a cloud appeared over the tabernacle to guide them, and “whenever the cloud lifted from above the tent, the Israelites set out; wherever the cloud settled, the Israelites encamped” (Numbers 9:17). After His resurrection, Jesus went up into the clouds. Someday He’ll return the same way, and “those who are still alive will be caught up together in the clouds to meet the Lord in the air.”
Safe and secure. Accessible to God’s Love from anywhere. Forever. Now that’s a cloud I can trust.
(Next post: what writers should know about the cloud. You don’t want to miss this one!)