The term “cloud computing” refers to a variety of Internet-based computing services. The difference between cloud-based and traditional software is that when you access the cloud, your desktop, laptop, or mobile device isn’t the thing doing the actual computing. The computing happens in a large datacenter outside your organization, and you simply see the results of it on your own screen.
Most cloud computing services are accessed through a web browser like Microsoft Internet Explorer, Microsoft Edge, Mozilla Firefox, or Google Chrome. You can also use certain cloud services via a dedicated mobile app or through a browser on a smartphone or tablet. Therefore, cloud services don’t require users to have sophisticated computers that can run specialized software.
Specifically, “cloud computing” usually refers to a cloud alternative to something that organizations would traditionally manage in-house. For example, a webmail service is a cloud-based alternative to hosting your own email server. A cloud-based constituent relationship management (CRM) database system is an alternative to running a database in your office.