Elgar Law, Technology and Society series
Edited by Anne S.Y. Cheung and Rolf H. Weber
The evolution of the Internet and the widespread adoption of virtualization technology have brought cloud computing to the forefront of innovation in the early 21st century, a circumstance in which computation has become per-use service-based. Cloud users can now process data and utilize storage platforms through high bandwidth networks at low cost and high efficiency. At its most basic and general level, cloud computing technology refers to the delivery of information technology resources as a service to multiple customers through the Internet: a process whereby software, shared resources and information are held on remote servers designed and established by the respective network or infrastructure operator. Consequently, the handling of this data is under the control of service providers, and this is known as ‘the cloud’. In other words, cloud computing enables information to be accessible anywhere to anyone with an Internet connection. The centralization of computing infrastructure and the change in the global computing landscape have allowed individual users and business enterprises to perform their activities round-the-clock with the advantage of device and location independence. Many of us who are using webmail, social networking services, web conferencing and online music services may already be in the cloud. At the same time, the use of cloud computing in the business community has begun to expand because cloud computing supports scalable and virtualized computer-related resources using the Internet.