The more conferences I attend, the more I realize people are unaware of the NIST definition of Cloud and how to apply it. Ironically, I hear a lot of smart folks talk about a lot of business and technology needs, and then treat Cloud as a marketing term, even apologizing for it's use some times. While "Cloud" certainly gets mis-used, I've found that using the NIST definition, or a slimming down of it for Business folks lends itself to a great baseline for us to talk about everything that everyone from the CEO to the ultimate end user user is asking for out of technology solutions. I have provided a few links below to the current NIST definition, and then a business person version of it that I use in every discussion I have around technology.
To play the devils advocate here, I found some anti-NIST articles. I have no idea who these people are and their concerns are valid. However, let me detail why they are not appropriately directed if you are simply looking for a standard, or a way to focus on the path to the Same or Higher Quality at the Same or Lower Cost vs. a representation of your products and offerings.
If you skim that, you will see they are interested in Big Data. Well big data is covered by NIST. You would use some sort of hardware and software to house big data. In this software solution you would want it to be self service, scalable, pooled resources, available with broad access, and programmable so you can program against the source. You might also consider should it be private, public or a hybrid. So there you go, NIST cloud definition covers this. I can find 10 or so other articles just like this, and it's always the same analysis if you understand what NIST is providing, a standard, not a marketing listing or endorsement for every product or service listing that may be though of. That's up to the free market.