To make the terminology more clear, the day you started using email, you were involved in “Cloud Computing”. It may be more instructive for you to substitute the word “Internet” for Cloud. In other words, any application that requires a connection to the Internet can be considered “Cloud Computing”
The reason we are hearing more about “Cloud Computing” is the extensive array of services that now require Internet connections to use. Many of the applications that users historically loaded to their desktop or laptop computer no longer require these applications to be loaded locally. Some examples of products that have moved to “Cloud” or “Internet” based use include the Microsoft Office suite of products, Quicken, QuickBooks, and a large array of other products that can be accessed and utilized via the Internet.
One of the downsides of “Cloud Computing” is the necessity of a continuous connection to the Internet. If the user has a provider that has numerous outages, these Internet Based applications cannot be used during these outages. The advantages of Cloud based computing is the ability of the provider to automatically provide product enhancements and patches to enhance both security and usability.
So the next time you hear the term “Cloud Computing”, just replace the word Cloud with Internet, and you’ve got it!