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Cloud: it's such a 'buzz' word, but what does it actually mean?

Arguably, there are more definitions of 'cloud computing' than there are 'cloud-based services'. A quick Google search will leave most people with more questions than answers. Indeed, the complexity of the topic means that it is often necessary to access what is not cloud computing with as much diligence as what is cloud computing.

The most well-known third party definition comes from NIST. Here it is, in brief:

"Cloud computing is a model for enabling ubiquitous, convenient, on-demand network access to a shared pool of configurable computing resources (e.g. networks, servers, storage, applications and services) that can be rapidly provisioned and released with minimal management effort or service provider interaction."

WOW. A simple definition? We don't think so. Here's a simplified version:

“Cloud computing is a means of delivering computing capabilities (processing, storage, etc.) using shared or dedicated resources that are housed in a secure centralised platform (i.e. a 'cloud'), rather than using customers’ own servers. Cloud capacity can easily be expanded or contracted as required to meet fluctuations in demand.”


What really counts is what cloud computing can mean to you, in terms of what you want to achieve and what outcomes matter, how it will improve your organisation or make your life easier.

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