What is cloud computing?

In the simplest terms possible, cloud computing is the delivery of computing resources and services via the internet. In this case, computer resources and services include software tools, storage space, processing power, artificial intelligence, network infrastructure, and much more. Many people think of services like Dropbox and iCloud when referring to cloud computing. Although such services are good examples of cloud computing, there is a lot more to it than that.

Many of us interact with the features of cloud computing without even knowing it. Organizations like banks, insurance companies, and e-commerce merchants use cloud technology to deliver particular service to their users through apps, and web-based applications.

Over the last few years, cloud computing has become increasingly popular with businesses and individuals. The cloud computing market is a multi-billion-dollar industry, and a recent publication by Valuates Reports predicts that the cloud computing market will grow at a 29.2% CAGR to reach a $285.3 billion value by 2025.

But how does cloud computing really work, and why have cloud technologies suddenly become so popular?

How does it work?

The word “cloud” is often confusing because it seems to refer to some intangible entity, but, (and this may surprise you) “cloud” is a metaphor for the internet. Cloud Service providers host computing services and tools such as servers and software on online platforms and make them available to users via the web. Users pay a subscription fee to use cloud services.

These users don’t have to set up an on-site IT infrastructure; they can simply log in to the cloud server and use the resources available there. Think of cloud computing as “computing resources for hire,” made available conveniently and affordably through the internet.

Types of cloud computing

Cloud computing is classified into four broad categories, which are:

Software as a Service (SaaS)

SaaS is perhaps the most common type of cloud computing. It’s a software distribution model that allows businesses to access and use enterprise applications through the internet on a subscription basis rather than via licensing. Hosted software applications are managed and distributed by the vendor or host. Companies prefer SaaS applications since they are considerably cheaper than custom-build and licensed versions. Plus, users can customize the applications to suit their demands and only pay for what they really need.

Platform as a Service (PaaS)

PaaS is geared towards providing a safe computing environment for developing, managing, and testing software and web applications. Some PaaS services are specifically designed for particular development environments and applications.

Infrastructure as a Service (IaaS)

IaaS works a lot like renting physical and virtual servers. This is the most basic type of cloud computing. The host lets you use IT resources from virtual systems, servers, data storage units, system software, and network facilities. The subscription fee mostly depends on the resources used and the duration. Infrastructure as a Service is commonly used as an alternative to on-prem servers.

Functions as a Service (FaaS)

FaaS is an abstracted version of PaaS. Details about the virtual machines, servers, and underlying routines and applications are hidden from the user, and only a very specific function is offered instead. For instance, you can have a cloud storage account but never have access or control to the data center or server itself.

Benefits of cloud computing

Cloud computing presents a number of benefits to organizations who are keen on embracing technology. Here is a look at some of the most attractive advantages of using cloud service as opposed to on-prem IT facilities.

Reduce the IT budget

Cloud computing offers considerable cost-saving advantages when it comes to setting up, running, and maintaining IT resources. Firstly, the business doesn’t have to purchase and install expensive IT equipment. And secondly, it’s the host’s responsibility to maintain and upgrade the necessary software and hardware. Plus, most cloud providers integrate managed IT services into service packages for customer and IT support, which replaces an in-house IT department, further saving costs.

Convenience and Flexibility

Cloud computing ensures that IT systems are always available on-demands, even remotely since access is via the internet. This opens up a world of possibilities for many companies. For instance, a company can collaborate with remote workers and adopt a more flexible work environment.

IT and data security

A recent data breach report by IBM shows a shocking rise in data breaches and the associated cost implications over the last five years. To most businesses, the cloud is an ideal solution for ensuring data security and protection. Cloud-based data storage services, for instance, are often much more secure than on-prem data hubs. Plus, you can always add extra layers of cybersecurity to cloud services.

Cloud solutions continue to attract businesses and other organizations looking to take advantage of the cost savings and convenience of using cloud services. Many small businesses have cloud technology to thank for access to high end, powerful computing resources. In many information-dependent industries, cloud computing is changing what IT infrastructure means and what it can be.