Clouds, Seeing Both Sides

| November 25, 2014
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“The Cloud is a place to store data that is accessible anywhere and anytime, either wirelessly or via more traditional methods for accessing the internet”

When I was a child, my parents frequently told me that I had my head in the clouds. I recall one time when they were less than pleased with my efforts at raking up leaves in the yard. Exasperated, my father warned me of the dire future awaiting me if I didn't develop a good work ethic. Influenced by Newtonian mythology, my pre-adolescent brain conjured up images of me sitting under a tree on a warm fall afternoon and, so with the certainty of a child, I assured my father that my future would be just fine since I was going to get a job that paid me to think. My father looked at my mother, shook his head, and grumbled in his deep voice that I was dreaming. There were no such jobs.

Years passed. I finished graduate school and went on to postgraduate work and teaching. One day, while sitting in my office, pondering some research question, my thoughts turned to that fall day when I was raking leaves. With a jolt, I realized that I had attained my childhood dream. I was being paid to think. That evening, I called my parents to triumphantly brag about my realization. My victory dance was, unfortunately, cut short when my parents claimed they didn't recall that fall afternoon, let alone any such conversation.

Besides being the residence for the minds of spaced out children, clouds have always played an integral role in human culture. They are subjects of songs. They are a place to soar. They form images that may or may not portend the future. They are even places where angels play their harps. Now, today, clouds have become part of the tech world in the shape of what's called The Cloud.

For those who are not technologically focused, The Cloud undoubtedly fills them with trepidation. This uncertainty mingled with a bit of fear, however, likely results from a lack of familiarity with what The Cloud is. If those working in the mental health field understood that The Cloud was a loose variation of Jung's Collective Consciousness, only with passwords, they would likely embrace it more readily.

In a nutshell, The Cloud is a place to store data that is accessible anywhere and anytime, either wirelessly or via more traditional methods for accessing the internet. In reality, it exists on various dedicated servers that are provided by and maintained by different hosting companies that specialize in data storage.

Although deciding to adopt Cloud hosting is ultimately a decision made by companies that provide web-based services for business reasons, there are definite benefits to customers of companies that do adopt Cloud hosting. For example, because the service-oriented company needn't invest in and maintain the necessary hardware needed for data and application storage, their costs are reduced. These savings can, in turn, be passed on to the customer via lower fees for service. In a similar vein, the company providing services and/or software doesn't need to maintain a large IT staff. This means more resources can be put into taking care of and responding to the needs of customers.

Because the focus of the Cloud host is in the storage and accessibility of data, their staff is dedicated to acting proactively in preventing any problems for the user. If the hard drive, or any other associated hardware, should crash (an inevitable event for all hard drives), Cloud hosts have redundancy built into their operations so that data and applications can become available in short order. Their dedicated staff are also security experts. In an age where organized crime is trying to steal personal data and government-sanctioned hacking, having data secured against illegal access is a plus, especially for the health fields which must conform to the statutes of PIPEDA and HIPAA.

There is one further advantage to using a Cloud host that all users can appreciate. Cloud hosts' specialization enables them to optimize data storage and accessibility. This means faster accessibility that takes advantage of the technological advances being made e.g. smartphones and tablets.

MyOutcomes is a web-based application that uses Cloud hosting. The advantages of using Cloud hosting are, in turn, passed on to those psychotherapists who understand that measuring outcomes improves the likelihood of therapeutic success. Since the use of the Session Rating Scale, or SRS software, and the Outcome Rating Scale, or ORS software, can be optimized, they are securely accessed via multiple devices anywhere, anytime…and, they can provide the therapist with valuable information regarding client change and the therapeutic alliance in a blink of the eye. This makes MyOutcomes the ideal partner for therapists who know the value of a client-directed, client-focused practice.


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