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Thanks to the endless onslaught of marketing (and that new Cameron Diaz movie), everyone has heard about the “cloud,” but most people are still confused as to what that term really means. More importantly, everyone seems perplexed on what it could mean for their firms. While the National Institute of Standards & Technology (NIST) only defines three major categories for cloud or outsourced technical services, there are many, many more flavors and blended options available and emerging every day. NIST pairs Infrastructure as a Service (IaaS) with such offerings as Amazon AWS, Platform as a Service with GoDaddy, and Software as a Service (SaaS) with offerings such as Google Docs and Office365.

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