What is cloud computing?

It's the buzz word of the year, but what does cloud computing actually mean? And, more importantly, what opportunities, benefits and challenges does the new model offer businesses?

This, in turn, highlights a number of potential drawbacks to the cloud.

There are little in the way of formal standards governing cloud services, and especially, the way they categorise and store data. According to PA Consulting, a lack of interoperability between cloud services could be one of the greatest barriers to their adoption by enterprises, perhaps an even greater barrier than data security.

None the less, all the signs are that cloud computing is here to stay. The onus is on IT departments to integrate the technology with their companies' broader technology requirements, so that the business can gain the benefits of flexibility, lower costs and quick development times offered by the cloud.

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