When you hear the word “cloud” in reference to technology, what comes to mind – a network of remote servers that store, manage, and process data… or a fluffy white puffball floating in blue sky?
If you chose the latter option, you’re not alone. According to a survey (PDF) from cloud and mobility service Citrix, nearly one-third of Americans believe that the cloud in “cloud computing” relates to “an actual cloud, the sky, or something related to weather.” Only 16 percent of the 1,006 respondents correctly identified the term as relating to a remote computer network. And more than half believe that stormy weather could interfere with cloud computing (which, to be fair, might not be so far off the mark).
But not understanding the nature of the cloud hasn’t stopped Americans from feigning knowledge about the buzzword – one in five survey respondents admit they have “pretended to know what the cloud is or how the cloud works.” And it’s not just at work that the bluffing occurs –17 percent of individuals surveyed have pretended to understand the cloud during a first date, and 14 percent nodded and smiled at the term during a job interview.
But the confusion doesn’t end there. Fibbing about understanding the technical term hasn’t stopped respondents from using the technology, even though this may come as a surprise to them. According to the survey, the majority of Americans (54 percent) claim to never use the cloud; however, 95 percent of those who think they’re not using the cloud actually are, for online services like banking, shopping, file-sharing, and social networking.
And after survey respondents learned the truth about how the cloud functions, they were asked what advantages they believe the technology could offer them. What was the top response?
A whopping 40 percent answered that accessing work information at home in their “birthday suit” would be a major advantage.
So maybe it’s time for a national crash course in cloud computing. All across America, people could pay their electricity bills, update their Facebook statuses, and browse the virtual sale racks online – without ever having to go through the hassle of donning pants.
Just as long as it doesn’t rain.