Why is Cloud Computing so needed? It can be due to market uncertainty or high software, hardware, and infrastructure costs. It also can be because of resource limits and security issues. Yet, those are only some problems business owners need help scaling up their businesses. As you can see, they represent an extremely high investment cost, which is a significant risk for them. These are just some of the main reasons Cloud Computing came into play.
Amazon Web Services defines cloud computing as the on-demand delivery of IT resources. In other words, the only cost you need to worry about is the cost you incur. The best part is the benefits of Cloud Computing aren’t limited to IT businesses. It has helped business owners from almost any industry, like healthcare, education, finance, manufacturing, and entertainment. The truth is we, as users, also greatly benefit from cloud computing! Let me illustrate that with a quick example. Think about a situation where you travel abroad for a business meeting. You left your laptop behind and realized you have all your essential files and documents on your laptop. That would be a significant problem. Unless, of course, you have your files and documents stored in the cloud. That way, you can access anything from any device with an internet connection.
Cloud storage is the primary data storage option for 65% of users. In addition, 60% of the world’s business data is in the cloud. That should give you a rough idea of why Cloud Computing is so popular and has taken over so quickly. In this post, we’ll cover all the ins and outs of Cloud Computing to inveil how something that good is even possible.
Cloud Computing refers to the ability to deliver online computing pay-as-you-need services. These include servers, storage, databases, networking, software, and analytics. In simpler terms, it's storing and accessing data and apps online instead of a hard drive. There's something you are surely asking yourself. How is all that even possible? The fact that you don't need to get more hardware to expand your business doesn't mean it doesn't exist.
Cloud computing is possible thanks to companies that provide this kind of service. These companies are cloud service providers. They make some profit as you lower your expansion costs to a large extent. This technology has revolutionized our work and has become an integral part of our lives. It's worth mentioning that some cloud providers offer free services, like storage, perfect for individuals. A practical example is the popular email service Gmail provided by Google. Users can access their emails, attachments, and contacts from anywhere. Google's data centers store all the data; users can access it through the Gmail website or mobile app.
There are three main Cloud models available with different abstraction levels. Thus, users can choose the level of control they need over their computing resources.
Infrastructure as a Service (IaaS) is the most basic Cloud Computing model. It provides servers, storage, virtualization, and networking components through an on-demand platform. Users use these resources to build and deploy their applications. With IaaS, users care for apps, data, operating systems, runtime, and middleware. Examples of IaaS providers include AWS, Microsoft Azure, and Google Compute Engine.
PaaS (Platform as a Service) gives you a little less control over applications. It provides cloud platforms and runtime environments for developing, managing, and testing applications. Users don’t need to worry about the underlying infrastructure they need to deploy their apps. This model provides web servers, databases, middleware components, OS, and developer tools. They are pre-configured and managed by the provider. Among known PaaS providers, you can find Heroku, Google App Engine, and Microsoft Azure.
Software as a Service (SaaS) is a complete cloud service model. In other words, vendors have complete control of these functional software applications. SaaS providers care for everything; users interact with the application through a web browser or API. Examples of SaaS include Customer Relationship Management (CRM) and solutions like HubSpot and productivity suites like Microsoft Office 365, Adobe Creative Cloud, and Google Workspace.
You’ve probably heard of deployment models in Cloud Computing. We’ve covered it already in this article! Yet, to clear any doubts, we’ll explain the idea with a practical example below.
There are several deployment systems in Cloud Computing. Let’s explain how they work.
A public cloud is similar to renting a public storage unit for your belongings. Anyone can rent a team and have access to the same storage space. Similarly, in a public cloud server, you store data on shared remote servers alongside the data of other users.
Here, you can store your belongings like in your personal storage unit. The difference is that, in private clouds, you have a dedicated space that you don't share with others. This method can be safer and give you more control over your data. Yet, it’s more expensive because you must manage and maintain the infrastructure.
Hybrid Clouds can be seen as having some of your belongings in a public storage unit while others lay in a private storage unit. Depending on your needs, a hybrid cloud can store some of your data in the public cloud and some in the private cloud. For example, you could store less sensitive data in the public cloud to save money. The other way around, sensitive data in the private cloud increases security.
Let’s move to understand the pros and cons of Cloud Computing. We’ve listed them below:
Businesses of all sizes in almost any industry can scale their businesses as needed.
Regardless of the model provided, cloud vendors handle all the software updates. That is, of course, limited to the tools they offer. It results, sometimes, in a lack of control.
Cloud providers have strong measures to protect their customers' data from cyber threats.
As mentioned in our previous example, you can access any tool in the cloud from any device.
Teams can improve productivity and efficiency using Cloud Computing tools. Some include real-time collaboration, file sharing, version control, access control, project management, etc.
We've mentioned this throughout the article but can't overstate it. Cloud computing constitutes massive savings for businesses. Think about all the money your business saves by only paying for what it needs as it grows. Not to mention all you save by avoiding losing your data due to its recovery capabilities.
As you may know, security threats can happen, which means compromised confidential data. That’s why you should make sure you choose the right cloud provider. On top of that, you must highly instruct your employees on security best practices.
Any disruption in internet connectivity can have severe consequences for businesses. Thus, Cloud Computing needs to be flexible if users are in an area with poor internet connectivity.
Moving from on-premise to the cloud can be a daunting process for organizations. The transition entails significant infrastructure, architecture, security changes, data privacy, and compliance standards.
Cloud solutions providers strive to improve proficiency and guarantee the best possible results. However, service downtime can sometimes happen for several reasons.
Different countries and industries have different rules and regulations. That can be complex and challenging to navigate. A practical example of this could be the discrepancies between the EU’s General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) and the CLOUD Act in the US.
We think distinguishing between cloud service providers and cloud-based tools is important. The difference is that the latter uses cloud technology from a third party to offer a new service. Now that we have established that, let’s take a look at some of the best for each category.
Amazon Web Services (AWS) is one of the most robust Cloud Computing platforms. It provides various services like storage, databases, analytics, and machine learning. Similar to AWS, Microsoft Azure is another major player in the Cloud Computing space. Azure excels in hybrid cloud, AI, and Machine Learning. Also, we can see Google Cloud Platform as a high contender here. Google's Cloud provides a wide range of services. These include computing, storage, and networking. GCP is well-known for its data analytics and ML capabilities.
Slack is a widespread cloud-based communication and collaboration platform. In fact, our team uses Slack daily to improve communication and collaboration! Also, at the top of our list, we can see Salesforce’s cloud-based CRM to manage customer interactions and sales processes. Another example is Dropbox, a file-sharing and storage service that lets you access your files anywhere. It also allows users to do real-time collaborations.
Cloud Computing has become an essential part of the modern-day digital world. It has changed the way people access computing resources. Hence, cloud computing has made them more accessible, scalable, and with low maintenance costs. It has also enabled collaboration and new opportunities for businesses of all sizes. The usage of cloud computing services can only keep growing. The Cloud apps market is to reach $168.6 billion by 2025.
Cloud-based services include tools like Virtual Machines, Databases, and Content Delivery Networks. Some even offer DevOps tools and services with Continuous Integration and Continuous Delivery pipelines. Cloud Computing can make businesses more profitable and our lives so much easier. However, the importance of Cloud Computing lies in scalability. Plenty of the largest businesses in the world wouldn’t have been able to grow without it!
Cloud service environments are more than powerful tools that can improve productivity. It has become a must for almost every firm! Choosing a service would only care if you consider the types of cloud computing models and their efficacy to reach your goals!