There are a handful of topics coming out of the tech industry that seem to be popping up everywhere (think AI, Quantum Computing and the like). We know that they are complicated, we know there is a lot of money involved and we know that they are going to reshape our world. But what are these topics actually about? And when you really get down to it, what do they mean for you now? In this first post of our “Tech Intro Series” we focus in on Cloud Computing. We define cloud computing, we look at what the different types of cloud are, what cloud services are on offer, and – most importantly – what this means for you and your business.
WHAT IS CLOUD COMPUTING
Cloud computing is defined as the delivery of on-demand computing resources, provided over the internet with pay-as-you-go pricing. By using cloud computing, consumers and businesses do not have to purchase the physical servers or run software applications locally on their machines. Instead, you and your business can access these services from any device, anywhere in the world – just as long as you have an internet connection.
TYPES OF CLOUD COMPUTING
Public clouds are owned and operated by third-party cloud service providers like Microsoft Azure and AWS. These companies provide IT resources over the internet to users across the world. This means that users do not need to purchase the resources themselves. Multiple organisations share a public cloud and by sharing these resources they have access to greater scalability, but are still ultimately bound by the terms and conditions of the provider.
A private cloud refers to cloud computing resources that are used by only one organisation. Your organisation can either host the cloud infrastructure yourselves, or outsource to a third party host. Everything that you store in a private cloud is maintained on a private network and this ensures that you have total control over your resources.
Hybrid clouds are, as you might have guessed, a combination of public and private clouds. This allows you to get the best of both worlds. You can protect your sensitive data and critical applications on a private cloud, while also making the most of the scalability and deployment options provided by a public cloud.
TYPES OF CLOUD SERVICES
Infrastructure as a Service (IaaS)
IaaS is made up of all the building blocks of cloud computing. These resources include servers, storage space, networks and operating systems. Your business can rent these resources from third-party providers over the internet. This allows you to have maximum flexibility and management over your cloud assets, without having to purchase any of the infrastructure yourself.
Platform as a Service (PaaS)
Software and web developers typically use PaaS to build web-based applications. PaaS has all the foundational resources provided by IaaS, with an added layer of tools and services on top of them that make it much easier for developers to work and collaborate.
Software as a Service (SaaS)
SaaS delivers software applications over the internet. We typically use these applications to facilitate different business functions like accounting, mail and project management. With these cloud applications, users can usually sign up and immediately start using them from any device with an internet connection. This is the most common cloud service used by businesses across industries and skillsets.
4 KEY BENEFITS OF CLOUD COMPUTING
Cloud resources are elastic in that you can scale usage up and down quickly to meet demand. You don’t need to plan for a flux in activity by provisioning too many resources. You can just access the right computing power, storage or bandwidth to suit any change to capacity when and as you need to.
Cloud computing eliminates the need to purchase software and hardware outright. Instead, third party cloud service providers can offer you metered usage and pay-as-you-go pricing of these resources so that you do not have to purchase them.
Cloud computing provides your business with flexibility. Not only does it allow you to rent IT resources instead of buying them outright, it also has a big impact on the way your employees can work. Your employees can access company data and software both in and out of the office. All they need is a decent internet connection.
To stay competitive, cloud service providers need to ensure they stay up to date with the latest technology to keep up with the needs of their customers. As such, these providers are constantly supplying clients with enhanced load balancing, stronger security policies and greater economies of scale.