What the Heck IS Cloud Computing? And How Big is Big Data?

Neil McEvoy, Cloud Best Practices Network (photo)

Neil McEvoy, Cloud Best Practices Network

Internet Jargon

The first article I sold as a freelance writer was an article demystifying marketing jargon for businesspeople. I had just finished an MBA, and it bothered me that smart entrepreneurs were being intimidated by MBAs and their jargon. (I’ll have to see if I can find a copy of that article!)

The Internet has spawned a ton of jargon, and the latest terms are “Cloud Computing” and “Big Data”.  Turns out, they really aren’t that new, nor are they as scary as they sound.

Neil McEvoy, today’s interview subject, created the Cloud Best Practices Network to help tame the Wild West that is currently the “cloud”.

With just about anybody being able to claim they offer cloud-based services these days, it is important to set some standards so that businesses don’t get misled.

What is Cloud Computing?

Put simply, it is a way you can rent software and access shared hardware without having to buy it. Two of the biggest players are:

  • Amazon, which mainly rents out access to it’s servers. As Neil points out in the interview, if you are hosted on a platform like Amazon’s, they’ve got the resources to cope with sudden surges in demand for your website. That way you don’t have to pay to buy a lot of capacity that would sit unused most of the time. 
  • Google, which offers a suite of applications, tools and access to data. Many of them are free; often there’s a paid version that gives more functionality for businesses.

How is Big Data Different From Regular Data?

Again, it is really not a new concept: putting together data from various sources such as a credit card’s records of your buying patterns, together with demographic data and info on where you live, to analyze and predict what you might want to buy.

What has changed is just the scope of it: there’s way more data available now, so the analysis can be more sophisticated.

And Why Should I Care?

For small and mid-sized companies, the “cloud” has meant that it is cheaper than ever before to try and buy services that will make your business more efficient and profitable.

Just remember, though, that it doesn’t solve all your problems. You will still need some technical support, and you must do due diligence. As with any technology investment, you want to be sure that what you sign up for will be around for a while (and that you have a backup plan should they disappear.)

What other business jargon have you come across lately?

Please post below. (And please share this podcast episode with your colleagues! Nobody wants to admit it, but a lot of us wonder about things like what cloud computing really is!)

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