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When are we actually “Cloud-based”?

We have all become accustomed to using the phrase “The Cloud” when talking about software or data storage that is not on our local drive, but is that all there is to it?

When using the phrase”The Cloud” what exactly are we talking about? After all, when we are on the road or at home and “dial-in” to our office network aren’t we accessing information and/or software that is not local? Is that the “Cloud”?

At the risk of sounding like an idiot I asked our co-owner and technical director James Ontra this question.  After first being mildly scolded for using the expression “dial-in” (apparently with ubiquitous use of broadband for the last fifteen some-odd years no one is “dialing-in”)  I found that while the answer is not completely black and white there is some hope of  clarity.

Simply put, The Cloud is someone else’s server, not your local machine.  So whether it’s Amazon, or Rackspace or PPTshuffle, when you use a Cloud solution, you are accessing that application on someone else’s machine.  You are benefitting from their software-as-a-service and their security, reliability and speed.  You just login with a user name and password, and everything is there ready for you. 

Conversely, enterprise software is installed on your company’s servers.  Your company owns the server, and is responsible for security, reliability and speed.  Therefore, it’s not considered Cloud. (Now you could argue that because the application is not on your local PC, then it is Cloud, because you are accessing it through another server.  And you would be technically correct.)  But for business purposes, we draw the line at who owns the server, and where do you access that server – Internet or In-house

Let us know if you have any questions.  We’re happy to help.

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