By Mika Nuutilainen, Director, Product Development, CRF Health
If someone asked you recently what is the most hyped computing buzz word today, you probably would have answered: Cloud Computing. The clinical world has noticed this, and has begun asking if cloud computing should be used in clinical trials. That is a good question. But first I need to ask, what do you think cloud is? That must be clear before it can be discussed at all. Is it an IT service you can buy over the network? No, that is just a web service. For our convenience, the term cloud has been defined by the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST):
"Cloud computing is a model for enabling convenient, ondemand 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."
NIST says that applications and services are included in the definition, but let’s analyze what some of the biggest cloud providers are really offering.