One of the first marketing / technology terms I learned when I joined a video managed services company in 2008 – as opposed to a telecommunications company before – was the difference between a cloud-based service (no weather system) and a local (aka on-site) hardware product. I am currently working for a digital signage company that offers both cloud SaaS (single or multi-tenancy) and on-prem (since we have customers who use both solutions). Occasionally we even offer a hybrid where we combine cloud services and use some of the customers’ devices on site.

Cloud computing differs from local hardware / software in at least one crucial respect. An end-user company hosts everything internally in a local environment (could be more than one location). In a cloud environment, however, a third party will host all of this for you. In other words, a cloud-based server uses virtual technology to host a company’s applications externally, usually …

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