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By Kevin Schmiterson

You might have heard a lot about cloud computing, but what is it really? Cloud computing refers to being able to access infrastructure, software, and data from servers not located on your own network. It involves accessing computers and networks located at a cloud service company. As far as your users are concerned, their data and programs come down to their desk from this cloud. It is a great option for companies that are just getting started.

Is cloud computing really just a gimmicky name?

The cloud part of the name is a bit gimmicky. However, it refers to a common symbol for data traveling through the internet instead of a through an internal network. When companies started offering services and hardware through the internet, they adopted the cloud term in reference to this common symbol. When you hear cloud computing, though, it is not always the same thing every time the term is used. There are different underlying services from which you can choose.

Is cloud computing reliable and safe?

If you choose the company well, you will be in good hands. These companies offer state of the art security as well as fortified buildings. They have redundant power and bandwidth connections to ensure your data is up and available 24/7. They provide redundant servers and can replicate your data onto multiple servers for even more security. You can ensure your security by taking steps on your end to secure your network and to restrict access to the data.

Who uses cloud computing concepts?

These concepts are becoming more acceptable to companies every year. Some companies have gone completely to the cloud model of computing. They maintain thin clients on their desktop PCs that access the data and software on the cloud. Others have adopted a partial model where they have some of their systems in the cloud with others still in their own facilities. This is a good model for companies that already have an established computing base.

What do you need to know before embarking on the cloud?

You need to do your homework before you embark into the cloud. Many companies have a great deal of success with this model. Nevertheless, it requires understanding the way in which your company currently operates and how it would operate with this computing model. For some companies, it is not a good fit. For others it is a perfect fit.

Gain the benefit of cloud computing and have access to resources in an environment that maintains security and protection of your data.