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Who Benefits from Cloud Computing?

Which types of users are best (or least) suited for cloud computing? Given the pros and cons of cloud computing, I think that the following types of users can benefit most from switching to cloud-based applications:

  • Collaborators. If you often collaborate with other people on group projects, you're an ideal candidate for cloud computing. The ability to share and edit documents in real time between multiple users is one of the primary benefits of web-based applications; it makes collaborating easy and even fun.
  • Road warriors. When you work at the office one day, at home the next day, and in another city the day after that, it's tough to keep track of all your documents and applications. With cloud computing, you don't have to remember which document is where or bring a copy of a document with you. You don't even have to worry about whether a particular application is installed on all your PCs. Since the apps and docs you use are stored on the Web and accessible wherever you have an Internet connection, versioning and compatibility simply aren't issues. You have the same applications and the same documents wherever you go.
  • Cost-conscious users. Cloud computing can save you money on both hardware and software. There's no need to invest in large hard disks or super-fast CPUs; since everything is stored and run from the Web, you can cut costs by buying a PC with fewer features. You can save just as much (or even more) on software; instead of laying out big bucks for the latest versions of Microsoft Office, for example, you can use Google Docs or Zoho Office for zero expenditure. When your budget is tight, "free" is a lot better than the hundreds or thousands of dollars you might spend otherwise.
  • Users with increasing needs. Need more hard disk space to store all your digital photos and MP3 files? You could purchase a new external hard drive, or you could utilize lower-cost (or free) cloud storage instead. Having trouble running the latest version of your favorite power-hungry software program? Abandon that power-sapping program and use a less-demanding web-based app instead. In the old days, the only solution to increased needs was to purchase more powerful hardware. With cloud computing, the solution is in the cloud—which saves you money.
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