It's 10 a.m. on a Saturday morning in an airport departure lounge. Your employee is about to depart with her family for a well-deserved vacation. Suddenly, her mobile phone buzzes with an email containing an urgent request. She pulls a tablet from a carry-on suitcase and logs on to the airport Wi-Fi network. Within minutes she is able to access her business documents, make the requested edits, and email back the final product. She can then turn back to her vacation plans. Your customer is thrilled with the timely response. Everyone wins, right?
The widespread adoption of the use of email in the mid-1990s fundamentally changed the way that the world does business. The nascent cloud computing industry is poised to again alter the way that we think about and use data. Cloud computing is broadly defined by the National Institute of Standards and Technology as "a model for enabling ubiquitous, convenient, on-demand network access to a shared pool of configurable computing resources … that can be rapidly provisioned and released with minimal management effort or service provider interaction." Those very characteristics — significant cost savings coupled with ease of access and collaboration, low maintenance, scalability and customization — make cloud computing very attractive to most businesses. Indeed, various recent studies have shown that a majority of businesses are either utilizing cloud computing or planning to implement it in the near future.
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