What Is Cloud Computing & How Can Your Business Benefit From It?

Whether it's the greatest technological advance since the microchip or just so much marketing hype, there's no doubt cloud computing has taken the world by storm. And while in some ways, there's really nothing new about cloud computing, in other ways it's a radically new concept that is transforming businesses. And there's no doubt that cloud computing is here to stay.

According to the U.S.-based National Institute of Standards and Technology, the official definition of cloud computing is: " … a model for enabling convenient, on-demand network access to a shared pool of configurable computing resources (e.g. networks, servers, storage, applications and services) that can be rapidly provisioned and released with minimal management effort or service provider interaction."

In case you aren't fluent in technobabble, basically what that means is that you can access all of your data via the Internet whenever and wherever you want and work with that data using whatever applications you want and need. While the delivery of hosted services over the Internet, most notably data storage and the applications to work with that data, is nothing new, what is new is the vision of what cloud computing can become for consumers and mean to the bottom lines of technology giants like Microsoft, Apple, Amazon and Google.

According to Wired Magazine, 70 percent of businesses are already using cloud computing services or are actively investigating them. For businesses in South Africa, the United Arab Emirates and elsewhere, the business benefits of cloud computing can be considerable and include reduced hardware and software costs as well as much greater flexibility and efficiencies gained through shared data and applications. And with the universal access to data and applications cloud computing gives to a business, its divisions and employees, there are virtually endless possibilities for collaboration on everything from working on spreadsheets from anywhere in the world to collaborating on web content writing or copywriting for various projects.

The logical first step for any business wanting to learn more is to retain the services of a reputable IT services consultant to review the business's operation and advise on how it could best benefit from cloud computing. A consultant can also advise a business on website design and other aspects of website development that can greatly enhance the usability of its interface with its cloud.

Wired Magazine notes that of Microsoft's 2011 research and development budget, a full 90 percent was spent on cloud computing products and services. A $74 billion industry worldwide at present, it's estimated that spending on cloud computing will more than double by the end of 2013.

Of course, no one would be surprised if those figures turn out to be low since much of cloud computing's potential is in the ever growing mobile market, a market that is just now being fully explored. And while early attempts at integrating cloud computing and mobile devices haven't been exactly user-friendly, they are expected to evolve for the better quickly.

Looking to push that evolution are technology's leading companies who see new revenue streams in cloud computing. Google services like Google Apps, Google Analytics and Google AdWords are all examples of that company's foray into cloud computing.

Zed Chamaa through his 9 PROVINCE website design, development & Internet marketing company has helped many small to medium sized businesses plan, prototype, design, develop and deploy their own Cloud Computing Services. If you're unsure what Cloud Computing is and how it can benefit your business, visit the following page: http://www.nineprovince.com/is-cloud-computing-for-you/

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