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Getting Your Feet Wet in the Cloud

When it comes to new technology, the first time is often the most difficult. I remember my reluctance to give up bank tellers and try the ATM, or even the way I used to get a receipt printed every time I paid for fuel with a credit card at the pump.

It took me a long time to trust online transactions, but eventually I became comfortable forking over payments to companies I had known only since my last web search. Now I'm much more likely to buy online than at a store.

So it will be with cloud computing. The first transaction will involve the greatest deliberation, consideration and worry. If the experience is positive, more forays will follow.

If you want to test out cloud computing, find a few services to pilot. It's not hard to find something that is inexpensive and low risk. Go ahead and sign up to give it a go. Here are some from Microsoft that are worth a look today:

1. Office Live Workspace view and share documents online
2. Live Search Maps publish your collection of map items
3. Microsoft CRM Online great way to kick the tires on Dynamics CRM
4. Office Live Small Business create websites and market your company

Some of these services are free and most offer free trials. So keep your feet on the ground and keep reaching for the clouds.

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