In cloud computing, software is stored and administrated from the Internet, rather than being stored locally on a school campus. Put another way: Cloud computing uses a network of remote servers hosted on the Internet to store, manage, and process data, rather than a local server.
Delivering software as a "service" from the cloud became a dominant theme of corporate computing in the 1990s.
The National Institute of Standards and Technology define cloud computing this way: "Cloud computing is a model for enabling convenient, on-demand network access to a shared pool of configurable computing resources (e.g., networks, servers, storage, applications, and services) that can be rapidly provisioned and released with minimal management effort or service provider interaction."
In general, storing programs in the cloud lightens the administrative burden on local information technology (IT) managers.
There are some security risks associated with cloud computing--although by 2011, most sophisticated companies have implemented measures to protect the data of their customers.
Here is a discussion of the pros and cons of cloud computing in education developed by the nonprofit Consortium for School Networking (CoSN).