While the concept of the cloud has been used in mainstream terminology for several years, the idea actually dates back to the mid-20th century. Like many successful inventions, the concept of the cloud started as one person’s vision and eventually grew in popularity because it met an important need for consumers and businesses.
Most technology solutions today involve the cloud in some shape or form; it is therefore important and useful to understand where this idea came from and how it evolved over time. By doing so, one can better anticipate future needs and learn from the lessons of the past.
Here are some key events in the cloud’s history:
- 1955 – John McCarthy introduced the theory of time-sharing, which focused on the concept of a centralized, shared computing resource.
- 1960s and 1970s – As the idea of service bureaus grew in popularity, the Department of Defense unveiled ARPANET, an advanced network (complete with the concept of packet switching) that eventually grew into the Internet. J.D. Licklider, a man who is frequently credited with “inventing” the cloud, was a pioneer contributor to the design of this network.
- 1990s – Companies started offering their services via the cloud as opposed to solely on-premises.
The Cloud’s Future
What exactly can the modern IT leader glean from a brief lesson in IT history? Two outstanding concepts seem to pervade the story of the cloud: vision and shared resources.
Vision: From the earliest days of networking and the Internet, researchers sensed the potential of the cloud. They had a vision for how to affordably extend computing resources to people and businesses around the world, and they pursued their work until that vision became a reality.
The lesson here for current IT leaders is that innovation and vision are nonstop in the world of technology. It’s important to understand the overall direction of the business, think about the next step, and pursue the technological tools that will enable success.
Shared Resources: The cloud has always been about sharing, and it continues to move in this direction through offerings such as cloud-based file sharing and collaboration tools.
IT stakeholders must think about the implications of cloud sharing on the business. While it brings great possibilities, cloud-based tools also raise security and compliance concerns that must be addressed. Furthermore, the abundance of devices in the modern enterprise means that businesses have to consider how cloud functionality impacts not just the desktop and the onsite data center, but also the laptop, the mobile device, the tablet, and the third-party hosting provider.
The cloud was a revolutionary concept, and while its history is certainly fascinating, the future of the cloud is a much more exciting idea for today’s IT professionals. There are still significant innovations ahead for the cloud, and there will continue to be many questions around how to deploy and secure cloud technologies within an organization. To see how eXemplify group can help organizations navigate cloud strategy around solutions such as file sharing and security, contact us today.