This article was originally posted on Technorati.
Cloud computing sounds complicated and ethereal – doesn’t it? (I picture Lando Calrissian tending to computers in Cloud City for the benefit of us all.) “That’s cutting edge; I need to get my business on the right track and look into cloud computing.” These thoughts can be overheard at most companies. So, what does it mean anyway? I was going to write about a shared network of servers off site. The fact that you can save a ton of money by cloud computing. (You actually can.) However, a much simpler definition of cloud computing exists.
Cloud computing is browser computing. That’s it. You need to open your browser and log in using your username and password. Your company probably already uses different applications of this nature. Think of Google Docs, Basecamp, your Webmail client (Gmail), or an Online File Storage app. This is cloud computing and I’ve been doing it for years. Chances are you have too.
Browser computing or Internet computing. That’s it in a practical nutshell that I can understand. Advantages? It’s much easier to us, computer and software maintenance happens somewhere else, and you can access your documents anywhere a connection is available. Downsides? Well, the flip side of most of these advantages – control resides elsewhere. You are at the mercy of a remote IT staff and the viability of the company. Hopefully, they have a 24/7 customer service department. Security, or rather lack of it, may be a problem if you have documents you wouldn’t want anyone to see. (Hmm, one can already envision future political scandals -“It came from the cloud!”)
Call it what you will, you’ve been doing it for years and it isn’t that mysterious.