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What is “Cloud” Technology?

Unless you’ve been hanging out under a rock for the past few years you’ve inevitably heard the term “cloud computing”. Heck, it’s what Synclio bases our entire technology on. But while most small business owners have a basic understanding of the technology, many are still pretty unfamiliar with how it works and the terminology relating to it. Still others have no clue what cloud computing is. So, here’s a quick crash course to clarify and define some of the basics of this rapidly evolving technology.

What is it?

In simplest of terms, cloud computing is an internet technology that utilizes the shared resources of a network – basically virtual servers that are available over the internet. It allows for the delivery of all of your computing resources (applications, software, web services, infrastructure, storage, etc.) wherever and whenever you need them.

What are the benefits?

Cloud computing has removed many of the obstacles small businesses once faced with traditional computing, particularly in terms of cost and space. Because it is internet-based and basically involves the sharing of resources, working in the “cloud” eliminates the need to house large, expensive equipment (and pay the hefty power bill that comes along with it). In addition cloud computing helps small businesses in the following ways:

  • Accessibility – Get access to applications that were once only available to larger enterprises.
  • Mobility – Access and update information from anywhere at any time.
  • Scalability – Scale your storage needs without purchasing extra equipment or software.
  • Security – Keep your important documents and information safe in case of a disaster or catastrophe.
  • Worry-Free Updates – No scheduling or paying for updates to software or hardware.
  • Ease of Use – Implementing cloud services is simple and fast.


Now that you have a grasp of exactly what cloud computing is and why it’s so phenomenal for small businesses, you’ll want to get educated on the common terms that are used in conjuncture with the technology so you can impress your colleagues, friends and family (or at least avoid appearing clueless during a discussion about cloud computing):

Cloud – A global network (i.e. the Internet)

Cloud Operating System – A computer operating system delivered to users over the web

Cloud Provider – A company that offers cloud-based systems, storage, applications, infrastructure or platforms

Cloud-Based Phone System – A hosted virtual phone system through which you can make or receive calls anywhere.

Cloud Storage – A service that enables users to save data via the Internet in an offsite storage system

Cloud Sourcing – Replacing traditional IT services and systems with those in the cloud network

Hosted Application – An Internet-based application that can be accessed with a computer or web-enabled mobile device

IaaS (Ifrastructure as a Service) – Infrastructure services such as servers or network equipment that are delivered over the web

SaaS (Software as a Service) - Cloud-based applications delivered over the Internet that do not have to be installed or run on the end-user’s computer

Mashup – A cloud-based application that obtains functionality or data from more than one source

On-Demand Service – Cloud-based services that can be purchased by customers on an as needed basis

Internal Cloud – A private network (cloud) used within an organization

Private Cloud - Services delivered over a private internal network or to select users over the Internet

Public Cloud –Services offered publicly to anyone who wishes to purchase them

Vertical Cloud – A cloud computing environment designed specifically for use within a designated industry such as healthcare or education


There you have it. Now you’re officially a cloud computing expert. Ok, maybe not. But at least you have a better idea of what the technology is and how it can help your small business as well as some basic terminology that you can use on a rainy day. And, of course, if you’re ready to take the leap and begin utilizing this incredible technology a virtual phone system is a great place to start. Wink, wink.

posted by Rebecca Daneault @ 11:38 AM