As mentioned at the beginning of this chapter, ArcGIS Online is a web GIS that is housed in the cloud. ArcGIS Online is a GIS ecosystem that houses many organizations. In the context of ArcGIS Online, an organization is a paid membership group. While a lot of ArcGIS Online is free and open to anyone, you will need an account that is a member of an organization with the right level, role, and privilege to create and edit GIS data and apps. Accounts, organizations, levels, roles, and privileges can be a bit confusing to someone who hasn't used ArcGIS Online before; you will find quick summaries of each as follows.
Everything you do in ArcGIS Online is tied to your account. Your account carries around your identity in the ArcGIS Online ecosystem, and depending on the account type and privileges given to your account, your experience will be different.