Cloud computing, cloud solutions and cloud IT may all be terms you have heard a lot recently, but do you know what they mean? Cloud computing can be extremely beneficial for both business and home networks, so it is important to understand what it can do for you.
What is Cloud Computing?
Cloud computing refers to accessing software or hardware over a network such as the internet, light-weight desktop or mobile app. The name was inspired by the cloud symbol used to represent the internet in flow charts or system diagrams.
Some cloud computing services also offer the ability to rent certain types of software or programmes which is then managed by the cloud provider itself.
All of your software or hardware is stored in a remote location which can then be accessed from your business or home network at any time. This ensures that you have constant access to what you need, when you need it and with faster running times, improved manageability and much less maintenance.
There are three main categories in which all the different types of cloud computing fall, these are:
- Infrastructure as a Service (IaaS) – The most basic level of cloud service which offers a computer (more likely to be virtual than physical) which are run as guests by a hypvervisor. This type of cloud computing is used mainly for extra storage, as you are still required to run and maintain the software and operating systems yourself.
- Platform as a Service (Paas – This type of cloud computing delivers a whole platform including operating system, database and even a web server. This is perfect for those who wish to develop their own software without the cost or difficulty of managing software layers or complicated hardware.
- Software as a Service (SaaS) – One of the most popular choices in cloud computing which involve the provider installing and operating software in the cloud for access by the clients (you and me). This ensures you do not have to run the software on your own computer, reducing storage space needed as well as extra maintenance and costs.
If you have ever used an e-mail service that is web-based such as Hotmail, Gmail or Yahoo! Mail then you have already used a form of cloud computing service. Instead of running an e-mail programme on your computer, the cloud host keeps all of your e-mail in one easy online application for you to get access to at any time!
How Cloud Computing Works for Businesses
First it is important to understand which type of cloud computing is going to be the best for your business (IaaS, PaaS or SaaS) and how you want it to be managed.
Private clouds tend to be the best for companies and businesses as they are operated solely for one single organization. This ensures all of your software and data remains private, for your use only.
There are also public cloud services which are made available to the public, community clouds for when you need to share information with other organizations and hybrids which are a combination of two or more clouds.
Once you understand what it is you need from your cloud computing service, it is then time to pick the provider to host and manage your cloud IT solutions.
A good IT services company should be able to offer you extensive cloud computing solutions such as hosted servers, maintenance by technicians, optimal up-time and data protection.
When you have found your IT service company, leave the hard work to them and rest assured that your software, hardware and data is fully protected!
- Cloud computing is actually a very simple process when broken down, so by now you should feel like an IT expert in the subject!
- Ensure that you understand which solution is best for your business, or speak to a provider about your needs before making a decision.
- Finally, ask that IT service provider about the types of cloud computing they provide and the added extras such as maintenance.
An article by Technology enthusiast Rebecca Walton.