What Is Cloud Computing?
Cloud computing has burst onto the computer technology scene like a fast-moving cold weather front. Essentially, “cloud computing” refers to a new concept and delivery model rather than a specific program or platform. Traditionally, when you wanted to achieve a task on your computer such as filling out a spreadsheet or typing a letter, you’d purchase a piece of software at the store, install it, and then use it as long as you owned the computer. Cloud computing turns that notion on its head – the functionality is available via the Internet, not a program sitting on your computer. And, rather than buying a permanent license, cloud-computing services are usually offered according to a cafeteria model where you pay for only what you use when you use it. (And, unlike a real cafeteria, many cloud-based services are free). Cloud computing is now used for a lot more than just replicating the functionality of traditional desktop applications, too, including virtual server hosting, database processing, and lots of technical business operations.
What does Cloud Computing have to do with me?
Perhaps more than you realize! If you’ve ever used a service like Google Docs or Zoho, you’ve been working in the cloud. And even if you’re just using 3rd party applications, like Gmail and Facebook, many of the issues discussed here will apply to you, too. Read the rest of “Computing in the Cloud: Risks and Rewards” »