gE Blog Series: Cloud Computing Part 1 - What is Cloud Computing?
This week’s globalEDGE blog series will delve into a topic that is becoming a major buzzword in the global business world. Cloud computing may be the future of information technology, with countless ramifications on the future of industries, businesses, and individuals. While the cloud also has implications for the general public, we will focus instead on the “private” cloud- how it is utilized by world governments, multinational corporations and other major players in the world economy. Throughout the week we will look more closely at risks and benefits, impacts on specific global industries, and financial implications of the cloud.
Basic concepts pertaining to cloud computing are that information can be made available in any location, retrieved on a variety of devices, and shared amongst various users. Rather than isolating applications to individual computers or networks, they can be maintained in one location on large servers.
Computer applications enable a variety of tasks across the functional areas of an organization. Groups ranging from human resources to supply chain management and engineering to new product development use applications to interpret data, automate processes, and even to manage e-mail. Cloud computing allows businesses to access applications from shared data centers outside of their company, without paying their own people to maintain and update them.
With applications in the cloud being managed by one provider, other businesses are free to focus on innovation in other areas. In the global economy, business users will be able to access the same information and resources whether they are traveling across international borders, sitting in an office, or working on a tablet or smartphone while commuting.
Business opportunities related to cloud computing can be divided into three major areas. Hardware is an essential part of cloud computing because information is stored in large servers that must be kept secure. Software is another key component of the cloud, as applications must make it easy for users to access the precise information that they need. Lastly, services are a major opportunity because users frequently need help learning how to utilize the cloud for their own unique business needs.
Stay tuned throughout the week for more detailed analysis of global trends related to cloud computing. For visual learners, take a look at this video for a simplified explanation of how the cloud works: