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What is cloud computing?

As a Digital PR specialist I’m not a big fan of jargon of any kind. From a social media and search engine perspective it puts a divide between you and your customer and makes brands difficult to find. When a customer searches for your company, they won’t use stylised, carefully worded search terms, they’ll type in plain English and for that reason, so should you.

Having said that, the tech and digital industries themselves tend to be terrible at taking their own advice and there are several confusing and vague terms that get repeatedly overused. One of the latest on the block is ‘cloud computing’. It’s often tipped as the future of the IT world, but what is it exactly?

You’ll be surprised at how simple the answer is – the cloud is actually just a reference to the internet. In a nutshell, the cloud computing is nothing more than using the internet in a clever way so that you can store your data (documents, music, photos etc) on something that is more durable than a physical hardrive, like your computer or a memory stick. It’s a much more practical idea in an age where so much vital information is stored digitally. Most of us have felt the pain of losing a camera, phone or computer and realising that aside from the cost involved, we’ve also lost treasured memories or vital information as well.

Image Cloud Computing

Image Cloud Computing

Cloud computing could revolutionise the way we store small, personal data, but the implications of being able to store files online instead of on a PC or server run by your business are actually even more widespread. Companies can avoid the costs of running and maintaining expensive servers, and employees can access information from anywhere that has an internet connection. Furthermore, the hefty costs of repair are replaced with a predictable monthly subscription fee and the need for panicked phone calls to IT support are overcome.

For some small business, cloud computing offers the chance to join a conglomerate company, such as salesforce.com, who will allow you access to a range of expensive software packages that you simply could not afford otherwise.

Cloud computing is nothing new – Google Docs have been hosting files online since 2005, but our understanding of what Cloud computing can do for us is fairly young and it looks likely that using the internet to share software and data will become increasingly important in years to come.

Cover image credit, perspecsis.com.

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One comment

  1. Hi Katie,
    Nice article and well written. For me true cloud (internet) computing is achieved when a user can access everything (all their data and applications) via the cloud (internet). They do this at the enterprise level by investing vast amounts of money on infrastructure / hardware / software etc. To bring the technology to the mass small business market it is done on a rental model via “virtual hosted desktops” accessed via RDP or citrix from a datacentre. For me salesforce.com is a cloud application provider – but it does not provide a total cloud computing solution by any means – it is just an internet based software provider.
    Roger

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