To understand cloud computing as a concept, forget the hard drive!
There is no place in cloud computing for such a device, the hard drive is classified as local storage; It's onsite and available to the network of users, but there is not specified hardware or a server for data storage included.
Cloud computing = internet.
To be classed as cloud computing, the service must be accessed via a network and this is normally the internet. It takes its name from the days when the internet was depicted in presentations as a big fluffy cloud with wires.
As the internet is broadly available and in an ever-growing number of locations, home and field based staff can access data via the internet without having to be physically present in the office. Also, if a sleepless team leader wants to access their report to work on it at 3a.m. then, if it is stored to a cloud and they can use the internet, then they will be able to work on it.
There are three cloud options on the market and they are relatively inexpensive as the service providers use the scale of their infrastructure to improve prices.
Private cloud services are primarily used by clients that need more control over their data and have customization needs. Protection is provided by the company dedicated firewall.
The service provider offers the client storage on a multi-tenant basis, hence the use of the word "public." It is suitable for unstructured data and archived information.
This is storage via a combination of the two other options. At least one private element and one public cloud element are implemented and data can be saved to wherever is necessary. Archived data to the public cloud, active files to the private cloud, for example, so that space is used efficiently.
The business client can choose from Software as a Service, or SaaS, which means that they subscribe to a service over the internet, Platform as a Service, or PaaS, which is a custom designed application for a company, or Infrastructure as a Service, IaaS, which is a service offered by the likes of Microsoft and Google, among others.
Cloud computing is seen as more secure than onsite storage. Less time and money is spent by your firm protecting your data and the provider of the cloud computing and storage should have the relevant encryption, data management and storage standards, confidentiality and security accreditations to be able to offer the best service to you for your sensitive data, whether it's company or client related.
So, in essence, cloud computing refers to a service or number of different services, more accurate, delivered remotely by a cloud provider over the internet. Cloud services reduce the need for businesses to run and maintain their own equipment, like servers, onsite and this can save a company a great deal of money.