To begin, the cloud is a term used to describe a variety of different computer technologies. In general, the cloud refers to a network of computers that are connected together and allow users to access shared resources, such as data storage and software applications. Data centers are the physical infrastructure that supports the cloud, and they typically contain large numbers of computers that are housed in secure facilities. However, these data centers are owned by cloud providers that use the infrastructure for many customers, as opposed to on-premise servers that are owned by individual companies.
This element of cloud provides an abstraction that allows users to access the digital resources they need without having to worry about the underlying hardware or software. To oversimplify the idea greatly, utilizing the cloud is like renting computers from providers rather than being forced to own the infrastructure. While this may not sound like a sustainable long-term investment, cloud services drive many benefits that have made the decision to conduct cloud migration a no-brainer. This new technology is a convenient way to store and share data, and it offers many benefits, such as scalability, disaster recovery, flexibility, and reduced costs, among others.
How do businesses use the cloud?
Many small and large companies use the Cloud due to its versatility and efficiency. While cloud technology can be used for many different unique tasks, there are numerous tasks that businesses commonly use the Cloud for. These include file storage, data backup, information sharing, mobile computing, and growth planning.
The Cloud makes it easy for companies to store large amounts of data without filling up physical storage on the hard drive. Furthermore, many types of files, including images, audio, and video files, can be stored in one place. Another use of the Cloud is data backup. A physical computer or other electronic devices can readily be damaged by a natural disaster or simply spilling a cup of coffee. Furthermore, cyber security attacks and the use of malware have developed as technology has improved. Therefore, the Cloud offers a non-physical and secure way to backup data.
One of the most convenient uses of the Cloud is information sharing and collaboration. Today, many businesses work with companies or have employees from different parts of the world. Shared cloud spaces allow authorized users to access certain files and even make changes to them. For example, Google Drive allows users to share and work on multiple files at the same time.
Next, businesses use the Cloud for mobile computing. Mobile computing means that employees can work from anywhere and anytime. Cloud technology is the main reason the Bring Your Own Device (BYOD) policy was started in the workplace. The BYOD policy permits workers to use their personal devices at work. Before the policy, employees would use company-owned devices that only stored company files. Therefore, the Cloud has saved businesses the time and money of buying secure devices for their employees.
Finally, the Cloud is used for growth planning, especially for small businesses. With the technology, businesses only pay for the storage and cloud resources they need. Therefore, small companies avoid making large investments in hardware and other storage devices.
What cloud services are there?
There are hundreds of different cloud service offerings, but these can primarily be categorized into four basic cloud computing services.
Infrastructure as a service (IaaS)
Infrastructure as a service, or IaaS, is the first type of cloud computing service. This is the lower end of cloud computing services, where an external provider provides all hardware resources and manages everything for you. IaaS helps users to use computing power without labor-intensive hardware investments or server management. The hardware resources are pulled from a variety of networks and servers distributed across different data centers, all of which are maintained by the cloud service provider. This allows for a company to save time and money since the setup and support of the cloud computing service are provided entirely by the provider, and the company only pays for what they need in terms of resources.
Platform as a service (PaaS)
The next type of cloud computing service is Platform as a service (PaaS). PaaS is a cloud computing service that provides developers with a framework that can be used for building custom applications. This allows software developers to build custom applications online without having to worry about data storage, data serving, and management. In doing so, the company does not have to worry about updating as the service provider provides all updates and software maintenance.
Software as a service (SaaS)
Software as a service (SaaS) provides web-based software applications to customers based on their needs. SaaS providers host a fully-functional application through a browser-based interface and make it accessible to the users through the Internet. This is usually set up as a subscription, allowing customers to have access to the software instead of buying it outright; this allows for free updates and payments as needed.
Functions as a service (FaaS)
Finally, Functions as a service (FaaS) is the fourth and final type of cloud computing service. Known more commonly as serverless computing, it allows software developers to develop applications and deploy an individual function, piece of business logic, or action without server maintenance. It increases overall efficiency as developers do not need to consider the server since it is hosted externally in its entirety.
Every single one of these cloud computing softwares can be useful, as they all allow for various operations required for business productivity and success.