The “cloud” is often mistakenly thought of as the Internet but it is actually a vast number of servers that provide a service and are accessed via the Internet. The concept has been around for some time. The software for webmail accounts such as Hotmail is cloud-hosted – all the user needs is an internet access.
Cloud computing and services are about storing your data and running applications via a web browser from your PC, Laptop or Mobile device. You do not download and install applications on your own device, all processing and storage is maintained by the cloud server. For this reason, cloud computing has also been described as "on-demand computing and is often bought on a subscription service.
Businesses are now recognising the clear benefits of outsourcing to a computer cloud. Capital expenditure is reduced, since applications are hosted by the cloud rather than by local computers.
However, a great number of people have genuine concerns about moving to hosted services such as the lack of control they offer compared to their on premise solution. Another common objection is the level of privacy when data’s living on the infrastructure of a third-party and this can in some cases contravene a legal or insurance requirement.
You can have your own private cloud accessible only within your organisation, the public cloud of an external provider or a hybrid cloud that spans both - see Cloud Structure section.
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