A Simplified Explanation of “The Cloud”

By Kathy Green

“The Cloud”

Every day, millions of people all over the world spend time playing, shopping, chatting, e-mailing, searching and surfing the Web.  In fact, the Web, Internet, or “The Cloud,” as it is often called, has been described as the quintessential expression of modern globalization.  But in more definite terms, what is it?


What is the cloud?

“The cloud” actually refers to the multitude of public and private, academic, business, and government infrastructures (servers and hardware) and IT services (software and applications) that are connected through an extensive array of networking technologies and accessible by computer.

Being able to access this great ‘cloud’ of servers/software/applications is like having the ultimate supercomputer at our fingertips-information and resources any time we need them.  It’s called “cloud computing”, and it has real advantages.  It gives us (people and businesses) access to an almost unlimited amount of storage and computing power that can be accessed from any place in the world that has Internet connectivity.  So, exactly where is it?

Where is the cloud?

This mammoth “cloud,” which supports the never-ending flow and processing of digital information, is housed on servers in blocks of office buildings and warehouses throughout the world, with the largest data centers in the US and Europe.  But beyond that, location is not really important.  To illustrate, let’s consider electricity.  We don’t have to understand precisely how it works or know where the particular grid that services our area is located in order to have electricity.  All we have to do is plug-in to an outlet, and it works!  It’s the same with this shared, super-computer in “the cloud.”  We don’t have to understand all the technical aspects or know where the servers are located in order to access it, all we need is a properly configured computer.

The key is access, which, aside from hardware and configuration, is governed by types of clouds-public, private, and hybrid.  Email is an example of a public cloud service.  When you access your email account, you are accessing secure servers that have been set up to host email services for your particular provider and made available to you-the public.  Conversely, private clouds are built exclusively for an individual enterprise, allowing access to only a select group of individuals (e.g. employees, customers, etc.).  Hybrid clouds, on the other hand, offer increased flexibility by combining elements of both public and private clouds.

How can you benefit from the cloud?

Different clouds (within “The Cloud”) do different things.  For instance, the Facebook “cloud” enables you to give yourself an online identity and connect to friends and family; Google Apps, a cloud-based productivity suite, is designed for business operations, and Amazon’s Kindle cloud computer provide storage and syncing for ebooks.  Some of these clouds are free and some are not.  How you use “The cloud” depends on what you want to do.

For most of us, cloud computing has become and integral part of daily life.  We used the cloud to store data, in case our laptop or smart phone is lost, gets stolen, or becomes damaged.  We use the cloud to auto-synchronize things like email, pictures, music and contacts between our devices.  And because cloud computing can maximize accessibility and increase our bottom line by reducing equipment acquisition, management, and operating costs, we use it for business.

So what can you do in “the cloud”?

We say “The sky’s the limit!”

Cloud Computing Humor

POLL: What do you think about Howard Store?

We just launched our new HowardStore website and we are so excited!  We want to know your favorite part of our new online store so we can provide you with the best possible deals and products.

Thank you everyone for your opinions, they are greatly appreciated!

Haven’t seen the brand new website?  You can check it out here.

Howard Store Logo

25 Items for the 21st Century Classroom

The new school year is quickly approaching! Do you have everything you need for back to school?

Don’t panic!  We have put together a detailed checklist of all the essential items you need for your 21st Century Classroom, so you can be fully prepared for the upcoming school year.

Back to school checklist

Download your printable version here: Back to School Checklist

Be sure to check out our 21st Century Interactive Classroom for all of your back to school needs in one stop.

Are you “Geek-Chic”?

Over the years, the word “Geek” has started to lose it’s negative connotations and is now used as a positive description.  Let’s be honest, we all consider ourselves to be a little geeky or tech savvy in our own ways!  Check out this insightful and humorous infographic by Danny Ashton featured on Business 2 Community to find out how you
score on the geek scale.


Howard Medical Partners with Proximity Systems

Ellisville, MS—Howard Medical, a leading manufacturer of premium medical carts based in Ellisville, MS, is pleased to announce its partnership with Proximity Systems, a top provider of custom wall-mounted workstations. This new alliance will enable Howard Medical to provide clients with an even greater range of custom healthcare solutions.

According to Proximity Systems’ CEO, Jeremy Goza, “This new partnership is very exciting. It formalizes our strong working relationship with Howard Medical, and provides a framework for collaborative work in the healthcare industry and other new markets.”

Proximity Systems designs, engineers, and manufactures wall-mounted workstations that take up a fraction of the space of traditional work area solutions. Design options include custom-built, aesthetically pleasing solutions that enhance patient safety, improve quality of care, increase efficiency and nurse satisfaction.

Howard Medical’s decision to partner with Proximity Systems was a natural choice, based on similar goals, superior products and a strong commitment to customers. CEO Goza echoed the rationale behind this decision, saying, “Proximity’s partnership with Howard Medical is an excellent fit. Our standards of high quality products and superb customer care are entirely aligned. This in turn allows the customer to have a more robust selection of customizable solutions.”

About Howard Medical

As a leading manufacturer of quality medical carts that continue to secure market recognition, Howard Medical provides real-world healthcare solutions that are designed to ease workflows, boost efficiency, and enhance patient care.  Along with our revolutionary POC carts, we offer specialized hardware technologies that are vital to EMR, CPOE, PACS, and other health-related systems.

Contact:  Scott Strickland, Vice President of Business Development/Global Strategies 678.360.7798

Howard Medical’s new partnership with Proximity Systems enables them to provide clients with an even greater range of custom healthcare solutions—high-quality, durable medical workstations—designed to enhance patient safety, improve quality of care, increase efficiency and nurse satisfaction.