What Is Cloud Computing?

The talk in information technology all seems to focus on cloud computing these days, but if you’re an Internet user, you’ve been using the cloud all along. Cloud computing refers to accessing data, applications and other programs on servers that are located in a different location. It might be a facility down the street or in another part of the world, but users connect to where those functions are located to use them.

This will sound familiar to anyone who ever had an AOL email account, and it shows the longevity of cloud computing. AOL owned the servers where you accessed you email, making it the first cloud service many users came in contact with.

So What’s the Issue?

While accessing information from afar may seem normal for many of us, large enterprises like businesses, government organizations and institutes of higher learning typically kept their servers close by. Called on-premises, these organizations liked to be in ownership of their information. It gave them an added sense of security to feel like they were in control. Putting information in the cloud meant they lost that layer of control. For most organizations, this isn’t a problem. Cloud computing has proven to be cheaper and easier to protect, but it’s been a large jump to make for large companies with intellectual property or government agencies hosting sensitive information.

What About My Business?

If you have a website, there’s a very good chance that it’s hosted in the cloud. Small and medium-sized businesses have especially embraced cloud computing. Not only does the cloud allow them to host their site at a lower cost than trying to purchase all the necessary backend technology themselves, but it provides an easy way to host a website. The technological challenges of web hosting are placed with a service provider that excels in this type of work, allowing businesses to focus on the most important thing — serving their customers.

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