Cloud Computing Explained in Words a Child Would Understand

It is very simple for him. He grabs Mommy or Daddy’s iPad, puts in the password and opens up Netflix. Whatever children’s show he feels like watching is available on demand and plays from some remote computer.

While his parents are pretty tech-savvy, they don’t need to be. All they need is an internet connection and a monthly subscription to one of the most popular cloud-hosted services around.

According to Google (and Oxforddictionaries.com), the definition of Cloud computing is “the practice of using a network of remote servers hosted on the Internet to store, manage, and process data, rather than a local server or a personal computer.

I always explain it to people that if you are using any computing power that is not located within your office or home, then you are using Cloud computing. Here are a few other examples many people use every day:

  • Search engines like Google
  • Facebook and other social networking
  • Bank machines or ATMs
  • Online meeting software like GoToMeeting
  • Email like Gmail or Hotmail
  • Photo-sharing sites like Flickr or Picasa
  • Document storage and sharing services like DropBox or Box.net

The reality is you are using Cloud computing every day but you probably don’t think about it much. I know my little guy doesn’t think about it except when it doesn’t work. Then I get some very difficult questions about why his favourite TV show won’t play and why the “internet is broken.”

Also see our post “Five Ways Your Business Can Use Cloud Computing.”