Generally speaking the 'Cloud' refers to the internet.
So Cloud computing, is computing over the internet.
"OK, I get that. But what is its value to me?"
Value varies, but the main benefits of cloud computing can include:
a) the scope you can create to focus on other, more important things, within your business. This is achieved by giving responsibility for the maintenance & upkeep of servers & software to someone else;
b) the peace of mind that comes from knowing you can go about your business from anywhere you can find an internet connection, and not be exposed to the downtime risks associated with a fixed location; and finally,
c) the ability to bring greater certainty to cashflow by replacing irregular break/fix costs and often heavy capital expenditure with regular and predictable operational expenditure.
In a nutshell: scope, flexibility & predictability.
"How do I know if Cloud computing is for me?"
the I.T. team will work with you on that. We will look at how you currently use I.T. within your business and where it might be relevant and appropriate for you to be moving certain I.T. services to the Cloud.
We would also advise you on the best form of Cloud computing to adopt – private or public, the services that would be best for you – virtual servers and online backup, and also your options around the best providers - Google Apps or Microsoft Online.
There are many variations of Cloud computing and the I.T. team is able to provide you with all of these Cloud services.
It is highly likely that at least one cloud service will be able to deliver tangible value to your business.