Cloud Computing – What is It?

There is much talk today about “the cloud” and it may seem like something out of science fiction when you hear it being mentioned.

What is “the cloud” and how can you use it?

In this series of articles I will explain the cloud and how it can benefit your business and some of the dangers too that could exist in the cloud.

What is the cloud?

The cloud or to be more exact, cloud computing, is a way of you using other companies software and servers to work remotely anywhere in the world where you can have Internet access.

This way of computing means that you are using software online that is on the servers of your cloud provider which can include, accounting, bookkeeping, CRM, email, email marketing, invoicing, spreadsheets, website hosting, word processing and more. In other words all of the things you use on your computer plus more without having to buy the software and have it installed.

You can therefore have staff in many locations who can all work together using the cloud and without needing to install duplicate software on each machine being used. The same document can be accessed and updated by authorized users not in the same office. You can probably already see some advantages to this system already but I will discuss this in a future article.

You can use the cloud as a stand alone feature in other words use it for everything or just add the features that you want in the cloud and leave other software and documents on your computer perhaps word processing for example.

Cloud computing can often be referred to in the following ways:

SaaS – Software as a Service
IaaS – Infrastructure as a Service
PaaS – Platform as a Service

Software as a Service (Saas)
is the most common form of cloud computing used by small businesses. As mentioned above this involves using software hosted on remote servers and you can run it through your web browser. You can upload and retrieve or share files that are stored in the cloud.

Infrastructure as a Service (IaaS)
allows businesses to use virtual hardware resources to build their own IT infrastructure. This can reduce overall IT costs as there will no longer be any need to buy the necessary hardware for their own physical IT. They can use IaaS provider to store data, provide server space and networking hardware.

Platform as a Service (PaaS)
lets businesses to build and adapt applications to suit their business requirements.

In my next article I will discuss some of the advantages and things you need to consider before you use cloud computing.

Cloud Computing – The Benefits

If you have any comments about cloud computing please leave then in the box below.

Roland Millward
The Entrepreneur Club


7 thoughts on “Cloud Computing – What is It?

  1. When thinking about Cloud Computing options, take a look at Microsoft. There are offerings for SaaS solutions (BPOS, Exchange Hosted Services and CRM Online) and a PaaS development environment (Windows Azure). Depending on your needs, you can keep some of the services in-house. This link will help:

    Jodi E.
    Microsoft SMB Outreach Team

  2. Thanks for this Roland.

    The cloud, cloud computing, is simply ‘the internet’, to alot of people. They don’t realise they are ‘cloud computing’ at all!

    The term sounds very complicated, but isn’t really. Alot of applications are web based nowadays, which is great for accessibility anywhere there is a connection to the Internet.

    I look forward to the follow up posts here.


  3. I am all for this and starting to move a lot of my stuff in to the ‘cloud’.

    Google Apps is excellent for this and I have moved my email hosting here now.

    I also use accounting packages such as KashFlow.

    The key things about this is the constant backup and access from anywhere.

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