Understanding the Small Business Cloud

By Mikal E. Belicove|For Entrepreneur.com|July 2, 2010

As Entrepreneurs, we’re increasingly hearing that cloud computing can benefit our businesses; but what is the “cloud” and how exactly does it work? The fact is that you’ve probably been using cloud computing for years, perhaps without realizing it. If you have a Hotmail email account, use Facebook, or do your banking online, you’re utilizing the cloud.

The cloud simply means applications and services that people access via the internet instead of installing software on their own computers. If you’re online, you’re somewhere in the cloud. The reason for so much discussion about these services lately is that, over recent years and months, many valuable services that once required installing applications have become available as cloud services. Often, businesses can use free versions of these applications in the cloud, while full-featured versions are available at low subscription rates.

For example, Microsoft’s recently released Office 2010 contains free and subscription-based cloud versions of its popular business applications like Word, Excel and PowerPoint. Through the cloud, these documents can be accessed anywhere via PCs, browsers or mobile devices. Similarly, Google’s Gmail and Google Docs operate in the cloud

Read the rest of Understanding the Small Business Cloud.