The Complete Guide to Cloud Computing
There’s no doubt that cloud computing has revolutionized the way organizations manage, share, and secure data.
Cloud computing has been embraced by organizations of all sizes and industries and is expected to be worth $623.3 billion by 2023, according to Markets and Markets.
The cloud is essentially a part of almost everything on computers these days. From personal email to professional communication, cloud computing isn’t going anywhere anytime soon.
What is Cloud Computing?
In the simplest of terms, cloud computing is the delivery of computing services – such as databases, software, and storage – over the internet on an as-needed basis. It’s a way to store and access data and programs via the internet, instead of via a computer’s hard drive.
Rather than buying, owning, and maintaining physical infrastructure like servers and databases, cloud computing provides on-demand delivery with pay-as-you-go pricing.
What Are the Benefits of Cloud Computing?
Cloud computing provides an abundance of key benefits for those that take advantage. Here are some of the main ones:
- Cost savings – Cloud computing eliminates the expense of buying hardware and software that must be set up and run within on-site data centers. This eliminates the need for IT experts to manage the infrastructure and saves on round-the-clock electricity for power and cooling (i.e. a reduced carbon footprint bonus). Also, with cloud computing, you typically only pay for the cloud services you use, which can help to lower costs even more.
- High security – Protecting sensitive at-risk data is a considerable challenge for many organizations, but it’s also one of the most important challenges to conquer. Cloud computing’s advanced security features help to reduce the risk of key information loss and potentially debilitating data theft.
- Instant scalability – Cloud computing allows the immediate scalability of infrastructure depending on what an organization may need. Essentially, it’s like having an unlimited IT resource, which can be scaled up and/or down to meet demands. Application development cost and time can also be reduced.
- Accessibility from anywhere – Cloud computing allows organizations to expand to new geographic regions deploy their applications across the globe in minutes. This reduces latency and improves experience by enabling customers around the world to get an identical and improved digital experience.
- Increased speed and operational agility – To keep up with increasing bandwidth demands, businesses can turn up its computing capacity and IT resources availability with the click of a button. This improves organizational agility, productivity, and efficiency.
- Automatic updates/patches – Software, operating systems, and applications all need security updates from time to time. This is a time-consuming process and any downtime spent on system maintenance also means a loss of productivity. Cloud computing can remove the need for these manual maintenance efforts since its handled for you by the cloud provider. Therefore, IT teams can spend more time achieving important business goals.
- Flexibility – From working at home to working in an office, the cloud provides options and flexibility to both employers and employees.
How Do Businesses Use Cloud Computing?
From email to online banking, to file storage and backup, these operations are all made possible through cloud computing. Even social media, streaming services, and online shopping have found their foothold through cloud computing.
Here are three leading examples of how organizations are using cloud computing:
- File storage – The cloud is a great resource for file storage and is undoubtedly one of the major areas where cloud computing is utilized. Cloud computing facilitates the easy storage, access, and retrieval of files. Many cloud services automatically sync files and can be retrieved from both computer and mobile devices.
- Data backup and recovery – Robust backup and disaster recovery is critical for businesses in such a digitally driven world. Cloud computing helps corporations of all sizes save time and effort in this area. Data backed up to a computer or drive can be physically damaged. However, the cloud offers businesses a place to keep data safe in a secure environment that can’t be physically damaged. In the event of a disaster, organizations may recover files, programs, and data from the cloud as long as a computer and internet connection are available.
- Data analytics – Organizations can unify data across teams, divisions, and locations in the cloud. With cloud computing, organizations can tap into their data to analyze it for patterns and insights, make predictions, improve forecasting, and make additional business decisions. Cloud services, like machine learning and artificial intelligence, can also help to uncover insights for better decision making. IT team members can even take advantage of cloud computing to test new programs and processes before they go live, adding or removing data before finalizing.
Along with file storage, cloud computing is perfect for the transfer of sensitive files. A secure file transfer solution like GoAnywhere Managed File Transfer (MFT) is not only cloud-friendly, it also eases security concerns and delivers more control and flexibility over vital business processes.
Related Reading: Secure Your Cloud Data
What Are the Types of Cloud Computing?
Several different versions of the cloud have evolved over time to help organizations find the best fit. It’s important to determine the type of cloud deployment that your cloud services will be implemented on, how it will be hosted, and who will have access to it. All three deployment options provide similar benefits, from cost-effectiveness, to reliability and performance. Which method you choose depends on your organization’s needs.
There are three main ways to deploy cloud services: on a public cloud, private cloud, or hybrid cloud.
Public clouds are the most common way of deploying cloud computing. The cloud resources, such as servers and storage, are owned and operated by third-party cloud service providers and delivered over the internet. With a public cloud, all software, hardware, and other supporting infrastructure is owned and managed by the cloud provider. In a public cloud, organizations share the same hardware, storage, and network devices with other organizations.
Public cloud deployments are often used to provide web-based email, online office applications, and more. Advantages of a public cloud include lower costs, no maintenance, near-unlimited scalability, and high reliability.
A private cloud consists of computing resources that are exclusively used by a single organization. A private cloud can be physically located at an organization’s on-site data center, or it can be hosted by a third-party service provider.
With a private cloud, the services and infrastructure are always maintained on a private network, and the hardware and software remain solely dedicated to your organization.
Private clouds are often used by financial institutions, government agencies, and other mid-to large-size organizations. Advantages of a private cloud include flexibility, improved security, and high scalability.
A hybrid cloud is the best of both worlds, combining both public and private clouds to allow data and applications to be shared between them. In a hybrid cloud, you can use the public cloud for high-volume, but lower-security needs like email, and the private cloud (or other on-premises infrastructure) for business-critical, sensitive operations like financial reporting.
Hybrid clouds give organizations greater flexibility, more deployment options, and helps to optimize existing infrastructure, security, and compliance. It also comes with the advantages of better control, cost-effectiveness, and ease of transition.
Related Reading: Your Guide to a Secure Hybrid Cloud
The Different Types of Cloud Computing Services
The most common and widely adopted cloud computing services are Infrastructure as a Service (IaaS), Platform as a Service (PaaS), and Software as a Service (SaaS).
Infrastructure as a Service (IaaS) is the most basic category of cloud services. With IaaS, organizations can rent IT infrastructure like servers, storage, networks, and operating systems, from a cloud provider on a pay-as-you-go basis. IaaS provides a high level of flexibility and helps organizations avoid the complexity of buying and managing physical infrastructure.
Some examples of well-known IaaS providers are Microsoft Azure and Amazon Web Services.
Related Reading: Introducing GoAnywhere MFT for AWS and Azure Cloud File Transfers
Platform as a Service (PaaS) are cloud computing services that supply an on-demand environment for developing, testing, delivering, and managing software applications.
PaaS are designed to help developers create web and mobile applications, without having to worry about setting up or managing the underlying infrastructure of servers, storage, network, and databases needed for deployment.
PaaS is designed to support the full web application lifecycle – building, testing, deploying, managing, and updating. Organizations purchase the resources needed from a cloud provider on a pay-as-you-go basis and access them over a secure internet connection.
An example of a well-known PaaS providers are Microsoft Azure and Google App Engine.
Related Reading: 5 Cloud Best Practices for Microsoft Azure
Software as a Service (SaaS) is a method for delivering software applications over the internet, on demand, and on a subscription basis. SaaS is one of the most common uses of cloud computing
With SaaS, cloud providers host and manage the software application and underlying infrastructure. Providers also handle any maintenance, like security patching and software upgrades. Users connect to the application over the internet, usually with a web browser via a phone, tablet, or PC.
Some examples of well-known SaaS providers are Microsoft Dynamics 365 and Salesforce.
Related Reading: Why a SaaS Solution Can Benefit Your Company