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The cloud isn't just for geeks

In a recent article in the Kennebunk (Maine) Journal (of all places), the author outlined five cloud computing myths. The first was that the cloud is just for geeks. If that myth persists, it's time we put it to rest because in fact, it's quite the opposite.

The cloud and its cousin mobile have actually taken what was previously complex, expensive and generally out of reach and made it accessible, inexpensive and simple to procure.

As the author pointed out in the piece, the problem very likely lies in the name itself, which is has never really been clearly defined to the point that people kind of gloss over when they hear about the cloud. Think Charlie Brown's teacher (Wah-wah, wah-wah...Yes Ma'am).

But at its core, the cloud has always been the great equalizer, and in many ways it has contributed to the sweeping changes going on in IT today. In the days before the cloud, employees were bound to IT. If they needed machines or software, there was only one route and that was through IT, no matter how long it took to respond to your request.

Then cloud services came along and it turned the power structure inside organizations upside down because employees no longer had to rely on IT for anything. They could simply sign onto a service and be up and running in 30 seconds. If they have a little bit more technical savvy and they required hardware resources they could go to a service like Amazon Web Services and give a credit card and could have as many servers as their heart desires.

Today, you can also get desktop services from players like Cisco and AWS giving you access to a fully functioning virtual desktop machine. 

Whether it's GMail, Dropbox, Office 365 or Evernote; whatever you need in terms of software, it's probably out there as a cloud service for free or for a very reasonable price and all you need to do is give a name and email in many cases to get started. Even non-technology services like Netflix or Fitbit use the cloud to share information from or to a device and the end user doesn't need to know this to use these services.

It's so dead simple to procure, many people don't even know that they're using the cloud because it has become so pervasive. In fact, the article on 5 Cloud Myths, referenced a Citrix survey that found, while 95 percent of people used the cloud, half didn't even know what it was. That's because it's just there and it doesn't matter if the person signing up for these services recognizes that it's the cloud or not. They just know it works even if they can't identify it.

The cloud offers services that appeal to geeks of course. The cloud is actually three sets of services --infrastructure, platform, and software. Most of those individuals who have no clue about the cloud probably use software as a service. But as you go into development shops and IT, then these users require infrastructure and and platforms to build applications, but just like the non-technical users, these folks have access to the same advantages, the same low costs, the same easy procurement.

It's made so many things possible and lowered the barriers to entry to such an extent that one writer on Forbes.com recently called the cloud, the most disruptive technology ever. That's not because it's complex and difficult to understand, but quite the opposite. It lets you develop ideas at the speed of thought. You just think it and it doesn't require tons of capital to get started, just a laptop or tablet, your credit card and your own intellect. You think it and you can do it.

I understand that we like to label our tech, which rapidly becomes buzzwords and marketing speak, but ultimately the cloud is services for people. It's not just for geeks. It's for everyone, so let's put that myth to bed.