You’ve likely heard of “the cloud” from your IT team or just from listening to the news. But you might be wondering what exactly the term means, and how it’s relevant to your work as an e-learning developer.

When your IT folks say you can “work in the cloud,” they're actually referring to the internet. The internet is made up of groups of physical servers—known as server farms—that house your data. Some examples of cloud-based services include Netflix, Dropbox, and Google Drive. These cloud services are accessed through a web browser like Chrome or Firefox, or by a mobile app.

Working in the cloud is extremely handy, since it protects your data from hardware failure or theft. In the past, many employees stored important files locally on their computer hard drive. If their laptop was stolen or they accidentally dumped coffee on it, that data could be lost forever. When data is stored in the cloud, which means it’s stored remotely, the chances of losing it are minimized. Anyone with access privileges can get to the data securely by connecting to the internet and logging into your account from anywhere.

Using the cloud can also improve your workflow as an e-learning developer. You can access your e-learning content and assets on any device—all you need is an internet connection. Tap into the cloud to store course assets, share courses with SMEs and stakeholders to collect their feedback, maintain databases with learner data, and house backups of your files so they’ll be safe in the event of an incident.

Working in the cloud has a lot of perks that can make your life easier. But you may be wondering about security threats to your data, since it’s accessible online. Are the risks worth it?

It’s important to remember that there’s always a chance your data can be compromised anytime you connect to the internet. Using two-factor authentication and strong passwords are just two ways you can proactively keep your information more secure.

You’ll also want to make sure you use trusted cloud services that have strong security practices in place. Many common cloud computing services, such as Amazon Web Services (AWS), invest in physical and virtual security to keep your data safe, and they outline their security policies clearly.

That’s a quick introduction to working in the cloud. Stay tuned for part two of our series, where we’ll dive into how Articulate 360 apps and resources use the cloud to help simplify course creation. If you have any questions, please share them in the comments.