What does cloud computing mean?

Cloud computing means storing and accessing data and programs over the Internet instead of your computer's hard drive. It involves computing over a network, where a program or application may run on many connected computers at the same time.

For some, cloud computing is a metaphor for the Internet. It typically uses connected hardware machines called servers. Individual users can use the server's processing power to run an application, store data, or perform any other computing task. Thus, instead of using a personal computer every-time to run the application, the individual can now run the application from anywhere in the world.

For businesses, cloud computing is an ideal way to reduce expenses. For example, companies may buy services in the cloud. That is to say, instead of installing applications on every single computer in the company, cloud computing would allow workers to log into a Web-based service (a cloud) which hosts all the programs individual users would need for their job. Everything would run on remote machines and local computers task would rely just on connecting to those machines.

While cloud computing could change the entire computer industry, there are still some concerns about the security of the data stored on the remote machines. It is true that it promises to offload many tasks. However, this technology raises a fundamental question. Is it safe to store one's data on someone else's computer? The cloud service provider needs to establish clear and relevant policies that describe how the data of each cloud user will be accessed and used. Cloud service users should also be able to encrypt data that is processed or stored within the cloud to prevent unauthorized access.

Sources: Wikipedia