It's a simple if intangible concept – you get into the cloud by moving all or some of your IT infrastructure and applications onto a cloud service.

Amazon have one, Google have one, Microsoft have one and there are myriad other providers who’ll happily take your hard-earned profits and put your stuff onto the cloud.

Still a bit cloudy on the issue?

The fact that the marketing bods (probably with his/her head in the clouds) decided to label this service ‘cloud’ really doesn’t help, such is the varied and elusive nature of actual, real-life clouds.

So let’s put it in the most obvious of terms…

Since sometime after 2005 you have probably been using ‘the cloud’ regularly, most likely every day, and you probably don’t realise.

Take yourself back to Christmas 1997…

You were delighted to receive a digital camera and the first thing you did after taking a few pics of Dad sleeping off his roast turkey, was hook the camera to your desktop and get those photos emailed to Uncle Terry in London. While all good fun, it was a clunky process.

Fast forward to Christmas 2015. You whip out your phone and post the pictures onto Facebook or as it might properly be known - your personal free cloud service.

It’s simple really, you’re ALREADY on ‘the Cloud’.

And you might even have been on the cloud since as far back as 1997. Had you used an early version of Hotmail to send those photos then, yip, you guessed it, you were using a Microsoft cloud service.

Let’s not overcomplicate things, the cloud is just a way of cutting out the hardware at your end and using a cloud service that will hold all your embarrassing photos, your old emails, your videos, your music and your important documents and you have probably been using it for longer than you realise.

The point is that putting things in the cloud saves you time and money – essentially you are outsourcing your storage.

So that clunky hard-drive you had sitting in the study in 1998 is gone, the USB with all your favourite photos is still sitting in the same drawer you put it in 2008. The money you would have spent getting the bugs out of your hard drive? Never left your back pocket. The fortune you would have spent on extra memory to store videos of your wedding is in your wallet, no, wait a minute, your wife spent it on flowers.

While cloud providers such as Equiniti in partnership with Microsoft offer many more sophisticated services than mere photo storage, they are in essence doing the same thing you did back in 2005 and maybe even 1998.

The cloud can provide businesses with a standardised technology platform, new ways of remote working and once you have learnt to crawl you can start walking by looking at higher level applications such as business intelligence and big data.

For example data analytics is a lot easier to do with the horse power of the cloud behind you but also makes it accessible to small-and-medium-sized businesses from an efficiency and technology perspective.

Equiniti, MS Hosting Partner of the Year, in partnership with Microsoft are world class partners and local experts in customised cloud offering customers hybrid cloud and Azure-enabled solutions.

Want to know more about how Equiniti’s applications in the cloud can take your business to the next level and to avail of our free cloud-readiness appraisal click here.

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