What is Cloud Computing, and how can it help your business?
So, What Exactly is Cloud Computing?
To put it simply, cloud computing means storing and accessing data and programs over the internet instead of on your computer's physical hard drive. Ultimately, the "cloud" is just a metaphor for the internet and the intangible data stores throughout it. The term cloud goes back to the days of flowcharts and presentations that would represent the gigantic server-farm infrastructure of the internet as nothing but a puffy cloud, accepting connections and doling out information as it floats ethereally. For a workflow to truly be considered as "cloud computing," you need to access your data or your programs over the internet, or at the very least, have that data synced with other information across the web. In a big business, you may know all there is to know about what's on the other side of the connection; as an individual user, you may never have any idea what kind of massive data processing is happening on the other end in a data centre that uses more power in a day than a whole town does in a year. The end result is the same: with an online connection, cloud computing can be done anywhere, anytime.
The Different Types of Cloud Computing
Let's further break down cloud computing into a few different parts. There are 4 main types of cloud computing: private clouds, public clouds, hybrid clouds, and multi-clouds, however, the main thing we are interested in here are the different types of computing services on offer, of which there are three. Infrastructure-as-a-Service (IaaS), Platforms-as-a-Service (PaaS), and Software-as-a-Service (SaaS). Choosing a cloud type or cloud service is a unique decision. No 2 clouds are the same (even if they’re the same type), and no 2 cloud services are used to solve the same problem. But by understanding the similarities and differences, we can be more informed about how the caveats of each cloud computing type and cloud service might impact your business and how effective switching to one of these service can be for your specific workflow.
Lets Break Them Down
Infrastructure as a service:
IaaS means a cloud service provider manages the infrastructure for you—the actual servers, network, virtualisation, and data storage—through an internet connection. The user has access through an API or dashboard, and essentially rents the infrastructure. The user manages things like the operating system, apps, and middleware while the provider takes care of any hardware, networking, hard drives, data storage, and servers; and has the responsibility of taking care of outages, repairs, and hardware issues. This is the typical deployment model of cloud storage providers.
Ex:Azure Virtual, Amazon EC2, Google Compute
Platforms as service:
PaaS means the hardware and an application-software platform are provided and managed by an outside cloud service provider, but the user handles the apps running on top of the platform and the data the app relies on. Primarily for developers and programmers, PaaS gives users a shared cloud platform for application development and management (an important DevOps component) without having to build and maintain the infrastructure usually associated with the process.
Ex:AWS Beanstalk, IBM Cloud, SAP Cloud Platform
Software as a service:
SaaS is a service that delivers a software application—which the cloud service provider manages—to its users. Typically, SaaS apps are web applications or mobile apps that users can access via a web browser. Software updates, bug fixes, and other general software maintenance are taken care of for the user, and they connect to the cloud applications via a dashboard or API. SaaS also eliminates the need to have an app installed locally on each individual user’s computer, allowing greater methods of group or team access to the software.
Ex:Dynamics 365, Trello, HubSpot, Bit.ai, Slack
How can Cloud Computing help you?
Having your business take advantage of Cloud services can play a critical role in optimizing IT. Allowing you to deploy your workloads to the most cost-effective and high-performance locations as performance, cost structure, or security requirements shift throughout the project. Cloud computing services help make sure all of your dynamic teams are always on the page, with reporting, project management, and communication service. Time and expense savings as a direct result of moving to cloud computing have allowed companies more time to concentrate substantially on customer service.
For example, in the professional services sector, moving your data and infrastructure to the cloud helps you have a far more personalized customer experience. You have access to client data in real-time, giving you an intimate knowledge of their needs and making timely business decisions. You can also easily monitor the "information" chain. Furthermore, you can scale up or down your IT needs depending on the time of year, holiday schedules, and seasonality, or in today's case, force majeure events such as pandemics and public rallies.
Now that your servers, products, and tools are online, there is no need for your IT workers to keep going to the office to secure your physical servers, and your employees would also have no need to access information from the same server while in the office, giving them the freedom to work from anywhere around the world, regardless of hardware limitations -- as long as there is a reliable internet connection. Simply log-in and get to work.
It's cheaper, and safer:
Cloud computing replaces the need for large-scale servers that require expensive overhead and staff to maintain, providing numerous business and operational advantages over a legacy data warehouse. It also allows you to be more competitive and flexible in the way you interact with your customers, and you are not held back by expensive hardware requirements on laptops and desktop computers. Many of the Cloud computing services such as Amazon Web Services come with built-in security capabilities that protect your resources. They will also provide various opportunities to protect or encrypt your data, from monitoring accesses and activities to sending you automated notifications.
To Wrap up
The sky is the limit with cloud computing (sorry), and the benefits are endless for businesses of all shapes and sizes. From web-hosting services, to chat clients, and everything in between, there is a product or service for everyone. At Poeta Digital, we fully take advantage of multiple SaaS and PaaS options, and our experts are always ready to talk about how your business can benefit from adopting these as well. If you are ready to discuss your digital transformation, get in touch!
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