Still worried about cloud computing? Let’s have a word (or two)…


Many studies show that small businesses in Europe are lagging behind the US when it comes to cloud computing. Given all of the known advantages to the cloud for businesses, why is that?

It seems that the answer is security. It’s the fear that cloud computing is an online “wild west”, where thieves are waiting to take advantage of your unguarded data. To help allay these fears, the Cloud Industry Forum (CIF) has launched a special interest group to promote cloud security, and show businesses that the using the cloud is no riskier than using traditional IT. CIF Chairman Andy Burton believes that some cloud computing fears could be allayed if only all cloud providers started using the same key terms.

We agree. So, to help this process along, we’ve provided a small glossary below of some of the most common cloud-related terms:

Cloud computing 

A type of computing, that relies on sharing computing resources that reside on the Internet, rather than having local servers or personal devices to handle applications. For SMEs, this means access to greater computing power and flexible, powerful and up-to-date IT infrastructure that needs minimal or no direct management. 

Hosted services

These are services which are not hosted in your office, but in a very secure data centre. Eg. rather than having to maintain, support and upgrade your physical servers, you can instead use virtual servers, which are hosted in a data centre. This is all maintained and supported for you.

On-demand consumption 

Customers can purchase cloud services as needed, and in real time. For instance, if you need to use additional virtual servers for a project, you can easily add these, and then remove them again after your project is completed. And it can all be done automatically, without needing someone to come out to your office to install anything.

Cloud solutions provider  

A company that provides cloud-based platforms, infrastructure, applications, or storage services to other businesses.

Software as a Service (SaaS)

Software is delivered over the Internet by your provider, so that the applications don’t have to be installed or managed on your computers, and you don’t have to buy any associated hardware either.

Virtual desktop

A virtual desktop is your regular desktop, but stored on a remote server rather than locally on one computer. This means you can see your regular desktop, regardless of whether you’ve logged in to your PC at work, your iPad on the way to a meeting, or your own personal laptop at home. 

Consumerisation of IT

This is the increasing pressure on a company, by their employees, who want to make use of their own computing and mobile devices to get their work done. Bring Your Own Device (BYOD) is part of this movement.

Resource pooling

Resources such as storage, email services, CPU, memory and network bandwidth are pooled together to meet the needs of multiple customers. This gives customers economies of scale which would otherwise need significant investment.

Are there any other cloud computing terms which you’d like explained? Let us know below.

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