Many hosted services are offered over the web for a variety of business needs. The general term used to refer to all of these is cloud computing. Cloud computing allows online companies to use resources over the internet rather than build and maintain their own in-house infrastructures.
Cloud computing is a trendy term that can be heard everywhere these days. Simply put, it refers to storing and accessing information and applications over the web instead of getting them all stored on the hard drive of your computer.
Storing or running programs from your hard drive is called local storage. This means that everything you need is physically there with you, making access to data easy and fast, especially for the one computer and the others connected to it through a local network. This was how many industries functioned for a long time before the cloud came along.
The “cloud” refers to the internet. This calls back to the times in office presentations when the internet was represented by a puffy cloud that accepts and gives information as it hovers above everything.
You may be using cloud computing at some aspect of life without realising it. This applies to online services that you use to send email, edit your documents, stream films or TV shows, listen to music, play games online, or store files and images. Cloud computinga makes all these things possible behind it all.
The first services to use cloud computing are a couple of decades old, rising fast so that a wide range of organisations are already using the service. This includes startups to big corporations as well as non-profits and government agencies.
Cloud computing at a glance
According to a study by the IDC, 50% of information technology will transition to the cloud within 5-10 years. Among the industries that rely heavily on data are the financial sector, telecommunications, technology, health care, government, advertising, retail, gaming, energy and data services.
Furthermore, 82% of companies have found significant savings in moving to the cloud. 60% of businesses already make use of cloud-based IT for operations. 82% of companies are also planning for a multi-cloud strategy.
These stats show that cloud computing holds much promise as a rising industry as well as a valuable resource for companies to take advantage of.
Cloud solutions for business
There are three different types of cloud solutions that businesses can choose from to find the best fit – private cloud, hybrid cloud and public cloud. Each offer different features and benefits. But with each type, the end result stays the same: cloud computing can be done wherever you are, at any time.
Private cloud works in industries with concerns for privacy, including medium businesses and more established enterprises that need to meet standards for security and compliance.
One example is IoT companies, such as those who trace customers through their phones. Other examples include health data companies, e-commerce sites that store credit card data, industries with high intellectual property concerns, and companies that emphasise data sovereignty.
Private cloud is managed by an in-house team of IT personnel or by a private host.
Private cloud offers complete control and flexibility, enabling businesses to manage their own dedicated resources within a third party datacentre.
Hybrid cloud is for companies that prefer the security offered by private cloud. This type of cloud solution is best for workloads that are highly dynamic and prone to changeability. This includes enterprises that can be split into two spheres, sensitive and non-sensitive.
Hybrid cloud also works best for businesses with seasonal data spikes, big data processing, and those with workloads involving API compatibility and requiring solid connection to a network. Hybrid cloud takes its name from the fact that it is managed by both in-house and external resources.
This mix of private and public clouds offer blending of such services as Office 365 for email with other applications that businesses don’t want to be made available in a shared environment.
Public cloud is for industries that have a significant amount of data with no major concerns for privacy. Companies that use this service opt for a pay-as-you-go structure. This type of cloud solution is managed by third party providers.
Industries that use public cloud include those in development and testing, development platform, training servers, one-off big data projects and websites with public information, product descriptions and brochures.
Public cloud is perfect for services, applications and storage that are made publicly available as well as those that use shared resources that are managed by the cloud provider.
More benefits in the cloud
Now that you know the different types of cloud solutions available, it’s time to go over the benefits of moving to the cloud. As a growing trend, cloud computing offers many. Here are five of them.
1. Time-saving, on-demand services
Cloud computing features self-service delivery for different types of workloads and needs. What makes it so attractive to businesses is that any service can be available on-demand. This effectively removes the need for companies to maintain in-house IT staff, especially for small businesses, or manage physical computer resources.
Cloud hosting allows users to get access to their files from any device, anywhere and at any time. This means that files don’t get stored in just one computer, enabling faster operations and availability. Storing in the cloud also makes it safer for businesses to protect their files, with faster backup options and recovery in cases of breaches or similar scenarios.
According to TSG, 45% of companies that use private cloud solution in their operations have enjoyed significant reduction of the time it takes to install applications. This time-saving feature enables companies to enjoy faster processes and improve productivity for employees.
Cloud computing can make integration easier for you. A lot of cloud computing applications include an Application Programming Interface (API) where you can find apps that are compatible instead of having to pay to have them customised for you so you can integrate them.
One of the biggest benefits offered by cloud computing is its flexibility. People on your team can access files and information that are relevant to work anywhere and on any device. In a highly mobile world, this is especially important.
Moreover, many companies now offer flexible working arrangements, such as remote workers and telecommuting. With cloud computing, employees can access work files even when they are not in the office, making it easier for them to work wherever they are. For small businesses, this also makes it easier for them to easily manage their operations wherever they are.
Increased flexibility and mobility enable businesses to let their employees use the devices they are comfortable with. This can include tablets, laptops and smartphones, helping employees improve their personal productivity.
With this type of elasticity, companies are able to scale up as their computing needs increase as well as scale down when they decrease. This saves them from having to invest in infrastructure that may not be needed later on in time.