I’ve published many posts about the benefits of cloud computing. Yet many business leaders are still hesitant to use it. This is mainly because they don’t understand cloud computing and how it can help them take their businesses to higher levels of success.

As I explained in a previous post, the cloud comes in two forms: public and private.

With the public cloud, a single instance of the software runs on a server that accommodates multiple client organisations.  In other words, multiple customers share the same application, running on the same operating system, on the same hardware, with the same data-storage mechanism.  Microsoft Office 365 is a good example of a public cloud environment.

However, with the private cloud, each customer application appears to run on a separate physical machine.  It’s self-contained and part of your company’s network. Unlike the public cloud, companies that employ private cloud computing know where their data is physically located.

Now that you know the difference between public and private cloud computing, how do you get started using it in your business? Well, that depends on what would work best for your organisation. With public cloud services, you pay a monthly per user fee, and there’s no hardware or software for you to purchase or install. Everything is handled by the cloud service provider. With private cloud services, you are more in control. The hardware and software are on-premises and managed by your own IT team. Perhaps what works best for your company is a blend of the public and private cloud.

If you’re still uncertain about cloud computing, you can learn more at the Microsoft Virtual Academy which offers free training, or you could download and install private cloud evaluation software. This would allow you to test drive private cloud computing to see if it would be a good fit for your organisation.

I know that all of my clients are committed to the success of their businesses, and we at Ulistic are committed to helping them achieve that goal. But being committed to the success of your business doesn’t mean following everyone else’s lead. It means gathering information, asking questions and even sampling the latest craze to see if it makes sense for your organisation. The cloud isn’t going anywhere, so what doesn’t work for your business today may be just what you need five or ten years from now. But you’ll have no way of knowing that until you educate yourself.

I recommend that you visit Microsoft’s virtual academy and learn as much as you can about cloud computing before you make a decision. Download and install the private cloud software and see how it works. Talk to your employees and see what they think. Talk to your clients about their needs and consider whether or not cloud computing could help you satisfy those needs.

If ignorance about cloud computing is the only barrier between you and the decision to use cloud computing in your business, it’s a barrier that I recommend you overcome sooner rather than later.