Since the mid to late 1990s the term "Cloud Computing" has been used to describe location-independent services where data, applications and virtual hardware resources have been made available via the Internet.
Since 2008, the number of organisations switching from company-owned hardware to Cloud services has increased dramatically. It is easy to see why. Cloud Computing when properly implemented results in a significant reduction in capital costs, a significant increase in efficiency and in many cases a significant decrease in staffing costs. Physical equipment, software expenses, backups and bandwidth are all handled entirely by the Cloud provider, and systems/resources can be simply expanded to satisfy changing business requirements without the organisation going through the traditional (and very expensive) process of replacing old hardware with new hardware.
Some organisations still take the view that their data and software is safer on their own network than with a Cloud provider, however in reality this is not likely to be the case. As security has become the single most important factor when choosing a Cloud Provider, this situation has itself persuaded Cloud Providers to ensure their security is up to a very high standard. As Cloud Providers specialise in security, the skills of their IT Security Staff and their ability to protect against security threats will often be far greater than a typical Systems Administrator in a small to medium size organisation managing its own network. In addition, many organisations cannot afford expensive Intrusion Detection Systems which are available from Cloud Providers at a much reduced cost owing to the fact that a Cloud Provider can share this cost across its many customers.