Cloud computing has become a major buzz word over the past four years and it doesn't seem as though it's going away anytime soon. You may have heard that tech giants like Amazon, Google and Apple are all battling to be the top cloud provider for consumers. There are advertisements everywhere for Apple's iCloud and Microsoft's OneDrive and every one of those tech companies has an offer that will give you more space for your photos and personal documents. Consumer grade cloud computing is excellent right now, but, people rarely talk about the cloud in relation to small business. That's why we have included this list of advantages and disadvantages of cloud computing in order to help you determine whether or not you should join the migration to the cloud.

Clouds used to be puffy white abstractions in the sky that served as the ground for gods, angels and the occasional demon (see Michelangelo’s Sistine Chapel); then science came along. Clouds became a collection of water particles that drifted aimlessly in the sky and the wonder that used to be associated with the upper troposphere dissipated faster than rainfall during monsoon season (though some benefits of cloud activity do exist, like rain). But, there are those who are injecting some wonder back into the cloud and, they just so happen to be in our industry. With the ascension of cloud computing there is a reason to get excited about the cloud once more thanks to the work of developers at Google, Microsoft, Amazon and Apple who are all looking to win the tech war that will revolutionize how businesses organize and conduct themselves for decades to come. Here are the benefits of cloud computing that you need to know to push your small business into the future.

When you’re deciding what type of exchange server will best suit your company, there are a number of factors that you have to take into consideration. The most important factor is the size of your business. Do you have more than 50 employees? If the answer is ‘yes,’ then local is, without question, the way to go. The cost of providing access to a hosted exchange server for a large number of users will be significantly higher than purchasing an in-house server. Additionally, if you employ more than 50 people, chances are you’ll have plenty of space for an in-house server.

When you think cloud, you typically think gigantic white fluffy thing that’s mostly water vapor and takes a bunch of random shapes. They look like gigantic pillows. Not exactly the most terrifying thing. But for Figaro Pho, clouds are about the worst thing since brussel sprouts (no offense to any of our readers who actually enjoy brussel sprouts). Luckily for little Pho, he’s not the only one suffering from nephophobia (the fear of clouds), because a good number of businesses are still afraid of the cloud.

In a previous post, we discussed how cloud computing firms are a little nervous about the future of their online services after Edward Snowden’s now infamous (or famous) leak of confidential NSA surveillance information. That leak could cost cloud companies between $22 billion to $35 billion in foreign business over the next three years. Even for tech giants like Apple and Google, losing that sum of money represents a major obstacle for the technology, and could result in them abandoning the cloud altogether. While some companies run for cover, and others step into the arena with the NSA, there is one company that is focused primarily on the growth of cloud computing.

In 1965, an American psychologist who went by the nickname "Lick," claimed that one day the entire world would be completely interconnected, and be able to share information through the "Intergalactic computer network." Besides that being an awesome name, J.C.R. Licklider predicted the invention of what we now call "cloud computing." Through programs like Google Drive, iCloud, and Dropbox, business professionals now have access to their work regardless of where they are located, which has resulted in a far more flexible and interconnected workforce than any other time in history.