The National Institute of Standards and Technology, also known as NIST, has been around ever since 1901. Since the organization’s inception, this pioneering physical science laboratory network is now an integral part of the United States Department of Commerce, with a particular focus on fostering progress and industrial competitiveness in the country. In other words, NIST helps American businesses stay competitive, inno-vative and relevant on the global market.

It’s quite easy to guess that NIST must have seen quite a lot of changes ever since the company’s formal origins in 1901. Today, the organization set out to focus on digital computing market trends, and on cloud computing.

For those who might not know, cloud computing is a decentralized form of computing, where service providers offer decentralized tools, computing resources, file storage so-lutions and other business tools to companies of all sizes. To stay true to the NIST def-inition of cloud computing, here are the exact words they use in order to explain this growing market niche.

According to the NIST’s definition, “cloud computing is a model for enabling ubiqui-tous, convenient, on-demand network access to a shared pool of configurable compu-ting resources (e.g., networks, servers, storage, applications and services) that can be rapidly provisioned and released with minimal management effort or service provider interaction.”

If this particular definition sounds a bit wordy and confusing, let us rephrase it in the simplest possible terms. Cloud computing, at its core, is a way for businesses to rely on decentralized computing power that can be applied to any type of service and scaled up or down to suit the need of any business or individuals.

Cloud computing is perfect for large companies, but even small brick and mortar businesses or independent professionals such as freelance service providers could greatly benefit from cloud computing. The beauty of it, is that cloud computing could be tailored to the specific needs of a wide variety of applications and needs – the possibilities are truly endless, and this is why cloud computing is so appealing.

The definition given by NIST is particularly essential to business insiders, because it offers a broad and precise description of some of the most essential qualities of cloud computing. Namely, it highlights how services can be delivered on a pay-as-you-go basis, on-demand or at the discretion of the customer. In other words, you don’t need to buy the full package. You just pay for what you actually need. This unique quality of cloud computing services is particularly attractive to service providers, because it allows them to broader their market significantly. With cloud computing, you don’t need to limit yourself to catering to a particular niche: you can tap into a broader marketplace and tailor access to cloud computing services based on the customer’s budget and needs. It is a simple concept, but a true revelation that sits at the vary basis of a multi-billion dollar market.

This particular concept also translates into benefits on the consumer’s end of the spectrum. Customers will be able to conveniently purchase the cloud services they need, cutting costs and tailoring their subscription to their particular business work flow, with no strings attached or without the need to pay a flat rate for a whole bulk of service, that they might not even really be using in full. The NIST definition adds further legitimacy to the concept behind the cloud computing market, highlighting how companies and customers can relate to this business model.