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How 9-to-5 Workers Can Win with the Cloud: Friday FAQs

How 9-to-5 Workers Can Win with the Cloud: Friday FAQs

Several close friends of mine, currently maintaining full-time office jobs, have wondered about this whole “cloud computing” thing. Specifically, they question its usefulness for them, how it can empower them at work, and how it can potentially fuel a progression in their careers.

These FAQs, I hope, will kick-start a discussion on just how the cloud meets these concerns and addresses them charmingly.

Q: Can the cloud help me get home sooner, or get more done?

A: Without a doubt. One word works best to summarize cloud computing’s assets to personal users in a nutshell: simplification. Given that you are consistently connected to the Internet, the cloud can ease how you access and interact with your e-mail, office documents, personal files, and your professional community at large. The cloud grants you ample free space to store everything in a remote location, letting you tidy up your digital workspace. You can also unplug from your iPhone and laptop and home desktop and so on… with the cloud, every device you own can carry every file you need.

Q: What are the risks of entering the cloud for me professionally? How can I protect what I create and store?

A: One possible detriment to the cloud is its potential invasion of your own private virtual identity. Some cloud services oblige you to accept agreements that let them tap into your data unannounced. Beyond your personal affairs, irresponsible use of cloud computing may sometimes lead to susceptibility to security breaches and file decryption.

Protecting yourself and your files requires that only utlize cloud services offered by well-reputed organizations like Google. Thoroughly research the encryption policies of any new cloud product or service before you use it. Always encrypt your own files before uploading them to the cloud. And never fail to back up your files on a password-protected external hard drive.

Q: Can cloud computing help me switch to a telecommute?

A: Maybe yes, maybe no. True, the cloud theoretically allows for an employee to handle their work from a remote location, provided that she can connect to the Web. Yet it will be some time until the federal government, and large corporations, understand cloud computing well enough to delve into it and let their employees work from home. Nextgov offers an excellent resource for continued reading on this ever-fluctuating conversation.

Q: Can the cloud increase my salary?

A: I would have to answer this with a resounding yes — but maybe not right away. Several Forbes articles (here and here) have evidenced the heat on cloud computing at the current moment. Job descriptions are morphing to encompass a preference for candidates who are cloud-savvy. Should you take up formal coursework on cloud computing, you might definitely be able to leverage higher pay. But before you enroll, start swaying your boss today with facts on how cloud computing can improve her business. By the time you finish class, your boss might be primed to offer you a “cloudy” raise.

By Jeff Norman

Jeff Norman

Jeff Norman is a freelance writer currently based in New York City. He's moved into writing about cloud computing from substantial work in culture and the arts. He earned his undergraduate degree in English at Stanford and has studied at Oxford and Cambridge.

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