We fear what we don’t understand. Frankenstein had fire and Punxsutawney Phil has his shadow. Just because you don’t fully understand cloud computing doesn’t mean you shouldn’t ever use it.

You have been using the cloud for years. Every time you have checked your email, it was you logging into a remote machine to do so. That is, by definition, cloud computing. Check your bank balance from your smartphone? Cloud. Social networking? Online photo galleries? Cloud and cloud.

How does the cloud work? It’s like when you go to a restaurant: you ask someone for something, and they bring it to you (Santa Claus follows the same principles, but that is another blog entry for later). What is another name for the waiter/waitress? A server. What do we call the computers who bring your ‘said’ files? A server. Same name, same principle.

With proper permission, say your password, I can ask my computer to use the internet to retrieve my email. The computer server there confirms my identity and releases the data. That’s it. Just two computers talking back and forth.

The big change is coming where more then just email will be cloud accessible. Photos and documents and so forth. Apple is already doing a lot of this with their iWork apps and Google Docs has been around for years already. Now if you are working for the CIA then maybe you shouldn’t consider using it for National Security reasons. I, however, am a less important individual and do not have global organizations trying to get at my secrets so using the cloud should be fine.

So, you can stop worrying if the cloud is safe because you’ve been using it for years already and I bet you didn’t even know it.