Expanded Definition of Cloud

To: Prof. Jason Ellis

From: Muztahid Sakif

Date: October 27, 2021

Subject: Expanded Definition of Cloud


The purpose of this document is to define and explore the context/history around the term Cloud. The term cloud is used very often in the networking industry. Although cloud computing began with the military for national security purposes, it’s now increasingly growing in other sectors like business, education, health, and public and private organizations. In this document, I will compare and contrast various definitions of the word cloud from different sources. Also, I will be discussing context around the word cloud. Meaning, how this term applies to the field of networking and the importance of cloud computing for different users. 


According to Gale EBooks, “Cloud computing refers to the use of a network of remote servers to store files and perform services. The use of the term the cloud signifies that the network is as common as the clouds in the sky, indicating that the network is ubiquitous, easy to access, and readily available anywhere in the world” [1, p.1]. This is a great, easy-to-understand definition. The comparison of the term ‘cloud’ to ‘clouds’ shows the availability of Cloud in the modern world today. According to Britannica Academic, “Cloud computing, method of running application software and storing related data in central computer systems and providing customers or other users access to them through the Internet” [2, p.1]. The two definitions listed above are intended for different audiences. The first definition from Gale includes audiences that are outside of the computing field, whereas the definition from Britannica is more catered towards people in the computer science or related audiences. Both of these definitions include the concept of the exchanging and accessing data which is important to note. Data is a big component of the term cloud and the role of interacting with data through cloud is what makes it in demand in the current market today. The second definition is more specific as to how clouds are used in today’s world. The use of different software applications was not prevalent in the context of the original definition of cloud. 


The following content expands on the usage of the word cloud in different contexts. According to the authors “Cloud solutions can improve the quality of smart city services, offering support to store, analyse, and extract knowledge from the raw data. The increasing need for supporting interaction between IoT and cloud computing systems has also led to the creation of the edge computing model, which aims to provide processing and storage capacity as an extension of available IoT devices without the need to move data or processing to a data center.” [3, p.2]. 

The use of the phrase “Cloud solutions” is important to note here. This phrase is often used in the context of the benefits of cloud, especially today. Improving the quality of smart city services through the cloud is very relevant, especially in New York City.  Also according to the authors, “Together with derived security data artifacts, this will support the Cloud provider community to implement a Security Manager system for a future Inter-Cloud environment and facilitate the adoption of these results in the private and public sector” [4, p.5]. In this context, the term cloud is mentioned in the context of security. With Cloud, there’s always the question of security which increases with time. This is also relevant to my field (Cyber Security) where the use of Cloud is increasing. 

Here’s a quote example from IEEE Xplore: Cloud Computing Based Social Media Model, writers K. Goel and I. Goel wrote about the role and the importance of cloud in the social media space: “So, to provide better data security, management,no worry of data management and also easy access of data will be required which can be only possible through cloud computing”[5, p.9]. The use of the word cloud here refers to its reach in various fields, including Social Media. The growth of Social Media is ever growing and the influence of cloud can provide its user with better security, management and allow business to grow through Social Media. Businesses, especially today, rely on Social Media advertising for business growth and cloud helps with large sums of data to simplify the process. 

Another quote example from the book Cloud Computing, writer Nayan Ruparelia wrote about cloud of things, which found in various ‘objects’ or technologies that we encounter “A cloud of things has inanimate objects, or things, as its scope; that is, it is a cloud that works with things instead of people or organizations. For example, you can have a cloud of public lighting— such as street or car park lighting— operated on a pay-per-use basis so that the lighting is available only to those who have paid for it and are in the vicinity” [6, p.10]. In this context, the author mentions the term “cloud of things” which is very relevant in the cloud business. Cloud of things can be an efficient way to manage lights as mentioned in the example. Meaning, the lights do not remain turned on all night and waste charge. The use of the term cloud refers to its influence on things instead of people or organizations. Cloud of things remotely monitor, manage and control the Internet of Things enabled devices like refrigerators, fire alarms, door locks, security systems, etc. 

Working Definition

Cloud is a networking/information technology infrastructure where all of organizations’ networking resources are shared in a public/private platform that is managed by a service provider. 


[1] Foyle, Harvey C. “Cloud Computing.” The SAGE Encyclopedia of Educational Technology, edited by J. Michael Spector, vol. 1, SAGE Reference, 2015, pp. 100-103. Gale eBooks, link.gale.com/apps/doc/CX6197800053/GVRL?u=cuny_nytc&sid=bookmark-GVRL&xid=8a12ab4f. Accessed 6 Oct. 2021

[2] Carr, Nicholas “Cloud Computing.” [Online]. Britannica Academic, Available: https://academic-eb-com.citytech.ezproxy.cuny.edu/levels/collegiate/article/cloud-computing/474374 [Accessed: 06-Oct-2021]. 

[3]. M. Fazio, R. Ranjan, M. Girolami, J. Taheri, S. Dustdar and M. Villari, “A Note on the Convergence of IoT, Edge, and Cloud Computing in Smart Cities,” in IEEE Cloud Computing, vol. 5, no. 5, pp. 22-24, Sep./Oct. 2018, doi: 10.1109/MCC.2018.053711663.

[4] M. Kretzschmar, M. Golling and S. Hanigk, “Security Management Areas in the Inter-cloud,” 2011 IEEE 4th International Conference on Cloud Computing, 2011, pp. 762-763, doi: 10.1109/CLOUD.2011.83.

[5]. K. Goel and I. Goel, “Cloud computing based social media model,” 2016 International Conference on Inventive Computation Technologies (ICICT), 2016, pp. 1-3, doi: 10.1109/INVENTIVE.2016.7823184.[6] Ruparelia, Nayan B.. Cloud Computing, MIT Press, 2016. ProQuest Ebook Central, https://ebookcentral.proquest.com/lib/citytech-ebooks/detail.action?docID=4527741.

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