These days, you often hear about “Cloud” and its incredible impact on the IT world. But what exactly is Cloud Computing, and how can it make such a big difference? Let’s start from the beginning to find out.

Cloud Computing is essentially a group of computing services, which includes different elements, such as file storage, databases, server, networks, analytics and many more. The many benefit of the cloud is that it is a decentralized framework, meaning that people can seamlessly communicate with one another in real time, access the same data even from remote locations, and store backup documents as a contingency plan.

The innovation is particularly important, if you consider the many risks and downsides on relying on local hard drives and similar localized systems. For one thing, if you experience issues and lose data, the information will actually be lost forever. If a computer gets fried with some information on it, it could be impossible to recover the data, and all your efforts will be pretty much toast. In addition to that, relying on localized resources significantly slows down the work flow. People will need to exchange information and data, which can require quite a lot of time. With Cloud, on the other hand, everything is within everyone’s reach at any given time. This is the reason why this service is becoming increasingly popular throughout the whole world. The possibilities are truly endless.

Cloud computing is becoming increasingly popular for businesses of all sizes, since it is really easy to scale up or down. In other words, you could benefit from cloud whether you run a small start up or a big corporation.

There are many companies that focus on providing IT services based on Cloud computing technologies. For instance, Microsoft introduced “Windows Azure” earlier in 2010, and over the years, it has grown on to become somewhat of an industry standard. Through Windows Azure, now renamed “Microsoft Azure”, people are able to harness the full potential of their business with a wide range of unified solutions.

With Cloud computing, internet is used to access data, and of-tentimes, information is synced with another device (or group of devices).

For instance, imagine working on a project with a team of free-lancers or collaborators spread throughout the world. Communicating might be somewhat of an issue, because of distance, different time zones and other variables that might significantly slow down a project. With Cloud technologies, on the other hand, every single member of the team will be able to access material and information, regardless of geographical location, time zones and other things. Data could even be sync in real time, so people can track each collaborator’s process and fine tune their workflow accordingly.

When it comes to business cloud computing approaches, there are different options available on the market. For instance, some businesses might choose to implement SaaS (Software as Service). In this particular case, a company would subscribe to a particular application, which can be accessed and utilized through the web. SaaS offerings are often all-in-one solutions, praised for their versatility and flexibility under many different circumstances.

On the other hand, some businesses might opt to rely on PaaS – which means “Platform as a service”. In this second case, businesses can design and create their own custom applications to be used within the company. This is a particularly common for really large corporations, which are so big that they might require their own specific cloud technologies, exactly tailored to different tasks and areas of their particular businesses.

Just to give you an example, leading companies such as Amazon, Google or Microsoft rely on such technologies, and even provide the bare “backbone” to other companies, paving the way to yet another business cloud computing model, dubbed IaaS (also known as Infrastructure as a Service).

There are many other cloud computing alternatives, which are often preferred by small businesses, freelancers or in-dependent professionals. Services such as Apple’s iCloud or Microsoft Office 365, Google Drive or even file storage websites such as Dropbox are some great examples.