A recent survey conducted by Citrix, a cloud and mobility services provider, reveals that most Americans aren’t sure what the cloud is and how it works even though they use it daily through online banking and social networking sites.

The survey of 1,000 adults found that a majority of Americans believe “the cloud” is a real cloud, the kind pertaining to the sky and weather, the big, white fluffy kind. About one-sixth of those surveyed that when they hear the term “the cloud” they think of storage for computer networks and for sharing and accessing data from internet-connected devises.

And some people admitted that they try to bluff others into believing they understand the cloud craze. Citrix said, “One in five Americans admits pretending to know what the cloud is or how it works. They’re even more suspicious of their neighbors: More than half of respondents (56%) said they think other people refer to cloud computing in conversation when they really don’t know what they’re talking about.”

Despite all the confusion, there is some good news. Even those who don’t know exactly what the cloud is recognize its economic benefits and think that the cloud is a catalyst for small-business growth. Almost 60% believe the “workplace of the future” will exist entirely in the cloud, which indicates that people feel it’s time to figure out the cloud or risk being left behind in their professional lives, Citrix said.

“This survey clearly shows that the cloud phenomenon is taking root in our mainstream culture, yet there is still a wide gap between the perceptions and realities of cloud computing,” said Kim DeCarlis, vice president of corporate marketing at Citrix. “While significant market changes like this take time, the transition from the PC era to the cloud era is happening at a remarkable pace.

“The most important takeaway from this survey is that the cloud is viewed favorably by the majority of Americans, and when people learn more about the cloud, they understand it can vastly improve the balance between their work and personal lives.”