The term cloud computing refers to a system of storing and accessing apps and data remotely over the Internet instead of a computer hard drive. Cloud is a metaphor used to describe the Internet.
As opposed to cloud computing, local storage and computing involves storing our apps and data on the computer’s hard drive. All computers connected to the hard drive through a network can access the data and apps. Data sharing is also faster in this model.
The cloud, on the other hand, eliminates the need for a dedicated network attached to a storage system. Data and apps in the cloud can be accessed via the Internet. Data is also synchronized over the Internet.
Businesses use a number of cloud computing models to enhance efficiency. Some popular models include Software-as-a-Service (SaaS), Platform-as-a-Service (PaaS) and Infrastructure-as-a-Service (IaaS).
It involves using the Web to deliver apps and data managed by third-party service providers. Such apps are usually run directly from the browser without the need for download or installation.
It is a cloud computing framework on which apps are developed and customized.
It is a self-service model used for managing a business’ data needs. Businesses purchase IaaS based on their consumption.
Examples of Cloud Computing
Microsoft launched a series of cloud Web apps, known as Office Online. The apps include online-only versions of Word, PowerPoint, Excel and OneNote. Any standard Web browser can be used to access these apps.
Drive is another instance of cloud computing that is similar to Office Online. It allows users to access their documents, presentations and spreadsheets via smartphone, tablet, laptop or any other compatible device connected to the Web.
iCloud offers similar functionality to iTunes over the cloud. It is used for storing, backing up and synchronizing data across iOS, Mac OS or Windows device.
Amazon Cloud Drive
While primarily intended for music storage, Amazon Prime gives you unlimited photo storage.
A number of hybrid services, such as SugarSync and Dropbox allow users to store and access files over the Internet.
Benefits of Cloud Computing
Cloud Computing offers many different benefits to businesses:
A cloud-based service is flexible enough to handle the varying data storage needs of businesses. Heavy data storage solutions can be expensive and require a lot of physical infrastructure to be housed within the business premises. Investing in local storage may prove to be costly if the business’ data storage needs shrink at some point in time. A cloud solution, on the other hand, is capable of meeting the varying data requirements of organizations. In times of low data requirement, our company can switch to a smaller and more affordable data plan.
Physical storage solutions offer complex disaster recovery solutions that are not affordable for small businesses. Cloud computing eliminates the need for expensive disaster recovery plans. Businesses can continue operations without any fear of data loss. All data stored on the cloud is automatically backed up, making data recovery a simple, streamlined process.
Cloud service providers are responsible for complex server maintenance, allowing businesses to focus on their core expertise. Cloud service providers hire a 24/7 support team that ensures timely maintenance of servers. By switching to the cloud, we can invest our time and resources on more important aspects of the business.
No Capital Expenditure Involved
Cloud computing doesn’t involve any capital expenditure, such as infrastructure cost. Cloud computing is also relatively quicker and easier to deploy than local storage. Switching to the cloud involves minimal start-up costs. We can also make informed decisions relating to future data storage needs, allowing us to choose a plan that meets our budget and requirements.
Businesses that switch to the cloud experience improved collaboration between employees. It becomes easier to work together on important projects and get things done faster. Naturally, business productivity also increases significantly.
Cloud computing offers greater control over data and apps. Team members working on a project don’t have to send files back and forth endlessly. It becomes easier to manage documents.
Data theft is a serious concern of many businesses. If data is physically stored in a laptop or smartphone, it can be lost or damaged. Cloud computing ensures the security of data at all times. Even if the laptop or smartphone gets damaged or lost, data in the cloud remains secure and uncompromised.
Small businesses get access to enterprise-class technology owing to the cloud. Smaller businesses can use cloud computing to act faster than their major competitors.
Cloud computing reduces the carbon footprint by allowing businesses to consume as much server space as required. Cloud storage leads to significant reduction in carbon emission as well as energy consumption.