Understanding Cloud Computing

Written by Toos Team

Published on October 14, 2020

Cloud computing sounds like technical jargon, but chances are if you have ever logged onto your organization’s server while out of the office you have used a form of cloud computing. The Cloud is a type of computing where storage, networks, servers and apps are accessed through the internet. Cloud gives users access to their servers and data at any time as long they have an internet connection.

What is Cloud Computing?

Cloud computing is the access to computer resources through the internet. This includes virtual machines, storage, development tools, servers, networking and much more. The virtualization of IT infrastructures is an everyday reality. Reports have illustrated that 92% of companies use the cloud in one way or another.

Cloud computing has changed the way individuals and companies’ access and store their data. Prior to cloud services, organizations hosted their own hardware and software resources through an on-premise infrastructure.


Why move to the cloud?

When comparing traditional on-premise strategy, cloud computing offers a plethora of benefits to companies.

Accessibility & Collaboration: Cloud users can work from anywhere at any time. Documents can be accessed and shared through a secure internet connection.

Collaboration: Cloud allows for constant syncing of documents. Users can share the most up to date documents with colleagues anywhere in the world in real time.

Efficiency: With cloud you don’t need to worry about space regulations, computer hardware, or software updates. Cloud uses automatic software updates and upgrades. There’s no need for on-site servers and software packages with cloud, giving your team more time to focus on business.

Reduced Costs: Rather than purchasing hardware and managing a data center, with cloud you can utilize a pay as you go subscription only paying for the services you require.

Flexibility: Given the state of remote work right now, the mobility that cloud computing provides may be the biggest advantage. Employees can work from any location if they have an internet connection.

Data Security: Storing data on the cloud is a safer option than storing it on physical servers because users must have granted access through a secure internet connection. With cloud there is no need to store private files on local and remote hardware which leaves it vulnerable to theft and data breaches. Additionally, partnering with a cloud service provider like Microsoft or Amazon, that spend billions of dollars annually on their security, compliance certifications, advance network architecture is more secure than a on-premise traditional data-centers.

The benefits of a cloud strategy for your IT infrastructure is endless; new benefits are being documented all the time it seems. However, the way each company or individual consumes the cloud varies.


Cloud Computing Service Models

There is a growing list of cloud service models, we only focus the three most common models; software-as-a-service, platform-as-a-service and infrastructure-as-a-service.

Software as a Service (SaaS): is the use of application software accessed through a web browser, desktop client or API. The application is hosted in the cloud by a third-party and licensed to a company or individual for a monthly or annual fee. The entire IT infrastructure is managed by a third-party.

Platform-as-a-Service (PaaS): The cloud service company provides the entire platform (and even tools development tools) to companies to build, run and manage applications. Companies can focus on their business objective without the complexity and inflexibility of setup and management of an on-premise platform.

Infrastructure-as-a-Service (IaaS): IaaS is the provisioning and use of fundamental computing resources accessed over the internet. IaaS gives companies the ability to access resources, scale or reduce on a pay-as-you go basis. No upfront capital expenditure on hardware.


Public vs Private

A public model might fit your needs best if you don’t need to own and maintain data centers onsite. You may be familiar with third party providers such as Microsoft and Amazon, they provide the infrastructure for many organizations to access software hosted on their servers. If you’re concerned about confidentiality you may prefer the private model which allows you to secure the data as the servers are owned and maintained by your organization but can still be accessed over the internet or your organization’s network. Additionally, there’s the hybrid model, that would work well for your organization if you want to eliminate relying on a single server and not all your data needs to be privately secured. However, in order to use a hybrid model your organization would need to set up communication between the private cloud, public cloud, and the on-site servers. Hybrid cloud options thus work well for organization’s beginning to migrate their data to the cloud.

Is Cloud Services Secure?

How can you keep your work secure even when your data is hosted remotely?  Luckily, given that a third party is hosting your data their whole business lies in being able to keep your data safe and accessible. Before choosing a service provider , you should ensure they are focused on compliance requirements and data encryption. While migrating to cloud , you can create new policies and regulations including cloud  security.  An IT specialist could help you ensure the cloud is compliant with the security framework that is commonly used within your industry and country. Additionally, a specialist could work with you to create security protocols specific to your cloud system.

If you’re familiar with working from home, you may log on to your work computer using specific software that connects you to your organization’s shared drive allowing you to access and share documents with your team securely. This is a prime example of one of the benefits of cloud computing.

As the pandemic continues, businesses are evolving rapidly in order to respond to these uncertain times. Cloud computing gives businesses the opportunity to expand the way they do business from adjusting supply chains to remote team collaboration.

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