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Don’t ever let tech jargon cloud you over

Thursday, 14 March 2013 | By Taskmaster

taskmasterThe other day, Old Taskmaster met an entrepreneur whose view of the cloud was somewhat up in the clouds, to say the least.


Since then, an interesting statistic found its way onto Old Taskmaster’s desk: According to a survey of 1,000 small business owners by QuickBooks Online Australia, only 19% of small business owners say they're currently using cloud computing within their business.


However, 98% of businesses that say they aren’t using the cloud actually are in some form.


The same survey also shows nine out of 10 entrepreneurs have a limited understanding of what “the cloud” actually involves.


Once again, for those of you who arrived late, the cloud is when your data is stored on a hard disk in someone else’s data centre. Usually on Earth. You access your data in someone else’s data centre over the internet.


Cloud computing includes – for example – online email services like Gmail or Hotmail, online app services like Google Apps, website hosting services and social media services such as Twitter and Facebook. In each of these cases, your data lives on someone else’s computer – “in the cloud”.


Here’s a simple rule of thumb: If you use a service that requires you to be connected to the internet to work, whether it be updating files in your Dropbox or accessing the messages in your Hotmail account, there’s a good possibility that it’s, at least in part, a cloud-based service.


If you’re in that 98% who think they don’t use cloud services, it’s worth thinking through the apps, computer programs and websites you access through the internet or rely on for work. You probably use “the cloud” more than you think.


But there’s a more important lesson here for anyone who runs a business.


Technology and IT is a fast changing field. It’s easy to wake up one morning to find half the planet have begun regularly using a new service, device, technology or app. Before you have a chance to blink, new jargon terms can quickly become embedded in everyday speech. “Cloud computing”, along with “tweets”, “blogs”, “social media” and “eCommerce”, are all examples of jargon terms that have recently invaded the English language with force .


Now, are you just going to let these new jargon terms crush you? Put these terms into the too hard basket? Or are you going to get on top of them and use them to your advantage?


Old Taskmaster says this: Instead of letting your eyes glaze over each time you hear a new tech term you don’t understand, get on the phone and ask someone!


Find someone who knows about computers, sit down with them and ask them to explain to you in layman’s terms what the new jargon term means. In this case, it’s “the cloud”. Ask them, if they can, to demonstrate it to you in action. In this case, it might be a service like Dropbox, Skype, YouTube or Office 360.


Make sure you tell your tech expert to explain it to you in layman’s terms, and if they say anything you don’t quite follow, ask them to slow down on their explanation.


So are there any tech jargon terms you don’t understand? It’s time to get in touch with a tech expert!


Get it done – today.