Technology buzzwords that depict recent innovations and popular trends are often misunderstood and/or misrepresented, which can hinder a general understanding of how the new technology could potentially enhance businesses.
Cloud computing is one of the latest buzzwords that falls into this category. What exactly is cloud computing? How can it help meet business needs? Are businesses ready to adopt this new paradigm?
A quick Google search on this buzzword resulted in over 47 million hits. Intimidating, to say the least. A typical business owner or executive may find it difficult to comprehend cloud computing and how it can help their business.
A basic understanding of cloud computing and the potential impact for businesses is a good place to start. Education is key, and trusted IT advisors can help business owners and executives sort through the confusion and determine if it is right for their business.
In simple terms, cloud computing is Internet-based computing, where access to servers, applications and storage is available for pay-as-you-go services. It doesn’t matter where the devices or software services are located in the cloud, only that businesses can access, manage and share the information on a secure basis.
Cloud computing is an umbrella term that includes hardware hosting, software hosting and services, storage services, spam filtering, application development services, web services and other elements. These services are available on a utility or subscription basis.
Software-as-a-Service (SaaS), a component of cloud computing, is a business software application that is delivered from a provider to the desktop browser via the Internet for a fee. Salesforce.com is a popular Customer Resource Management (CRM) application that is considered a SaaS.
Google Gmail is another example of SaaS. Businesses can use Gmail with their domain name through the Internet on a per-user fee, and requires minimal management and administration.
Many SaaS vendors are emerging to meet business demands, including Accounting/Finance, operations and ERP applications. SaaS vendors offer specialized vertical market solutions that offer businesses a complete suite of applications to run the business.