Cloud Computing essentially involves delivering computing services, like servers, databases, storage, software, networking, intelligence, and analytics, over the Internet. This way, it provides flexible resources, constant innovation, and economies of scale. Here you are typically paying only for the cloud services you use; this helps to lower the operating charges, scale as the business requirements change, and run the infrastructure more efficiently. 

Understanding Cloud Computing

So what is cloud computing? Let’s explore in little detail. Well, it is somewhere at the other end of your internet connection. It is a place where you get to access apps & services and the place where data is securely stored. Cloud is crucial for three reasons: 

  • It is infinite in size, so there is no stress over it running out of capacity.
  • When it comes to Cloud, you don’t need to manage or maintain it.
  • Cloud-based apps & services from anywhere, and you only need a device with an internet connection. 

Cloud computing is a big deal as there is a shift from office-based work to now people working on the move. This shift is even reflected in computer hardware sales, as a report states that in 2015, around 270 million desktops & laptops were sold, compared to 325 million tablets and about 2 billion smartphones. This way, Cloud is an ideal platform for running business software, such as customer relationship management CRM apps. It is software that users might require to access at any given point, regardless of their location, and on any device. 

Who Uses The Cloud? 

Today Cloud has become an essential part of our day-to-day lives, and most people are using it without actually realizing it. Rather, for most people, life without Cloud would be completely different, as then there would be no Gmail, Twitter, Facebook, or Spotify. In a way, Cloud has greatly impacted even the business landscape. Today, many organizations across the globe are relying on cloud services for a lot of things, like a backup to social CRM and accounts, document creation, and a lot more. 

This Technology Is Used By:

  • Companies with more than 25,000 employees, on average, use 545 cloud apps/services.
  • Speaking of March 2016, there were 1.09 billion daily active users on Facebook across the world on average. 
  • More than half of the internet users depend on cloud-based email services like Yahoo! Mail and Gmail to send and receive messages. 

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How Does Cloud Computing Work?

Cloud Computing

It is quite simple. Just open a browser, log in, and start your work. This means that a field sales representative can get all the required information from their mobile device by using cloud-based CRM. It allows to update contact notes in real-time hence they are always fresh and complete and available to others. So, no need to wait to get back to the office to make the update. Also, the sales managers will know which deals will close and when from their tablets/phones when they are out of the office. 

All of this is possible without having to invest in hardware or software. That is because the software and hardware needed are the responsibility of the cloud company running the app. Firms like Salesforce are well-experienced in managing the cloud infrastructure and ensuring that it is secure and reliable so that the clients do not need to stress over these aspects. 

The Cloud Platforms Allow Running All Kinds Of Apps, Like:

  • Using Google Apps for Business to create & collaborate on documents & spreadsheets using Google Apps.
  • Using Skype for video conferencing with the colleagues
  • Using Salesforce Platform to manage sales and customer service functions, alongside important business processes. 

It also allows you to create your own mobile, social, and real-time employee apps and run them in Cloud. The latest innovations in the field of cloud computing allow making business apps more mobile and collaborative. 

What Are The Types Of Cloud Computing?

Types of Cloud Computing

All clouds are not the same, and no one type of Cloud Computing works for everyone. Various models, types, and services offer the right solution for specific needs. The first step is determining the type of cloud deployment or cloud computing architecture on which the cloud services will be implemented. Now there are three ways to deploy cloud services: it can be on private Cloud, public Cloud, or hybrid Cloud.

1. Public Cloud Computing

This type of cloud is owned & operated by third-party cloud service providers, who deliver their computing resources like servers & storage over the Internet. For instance, Microsoft Azure is a public cloud. In a public cloud, all software, hardware, and other supporting infrastructure are owned and managed by the cloud provider. You get access to the Cloud services and manage your account using a web browser.

2. Private Cloud Computing

This refers to Cloud computing resources exclusively used by a single business. A private cloud is located physically on the company’s on-site data center. With a private cloud, the services & infrastructure are maintained on a private network. Few firms even pay third-party service providers for hosting their private Cloud. 

3. Hybrid Cloud Computing

This type of cloud combine public & private clouds that are bound together by technology, and this way, data, and apps can be shared between them. A hybrid cloud enables data and apps to move between private & public clouds, and this way, it gives greater flexibility to the business and more options to deploy. Also, it allows optimizing present infrastructure, security, and compliance. 

What Are The Benefits Of Cloud Computing? 

Some significant benefits of Cloud Computing are: 

1. It Allows Being Agile

Cloud offers easy access to wide-ranging technologies, and this way, it will enable you to innovate faster and build virtually anything that you imagine. Here you can quickly spin up resources as required, from the infrastructure services, like storage, databases, and computing, to machine learning, Internet of Things, data lakes & analytics, and a lot more. This technology even allows faster deployment of technology services and moves from idea to the execution of several orders way faster. This way, you are free to experiment, test new ideas to distinguish customer experiences, and transform your business. 

2. Elasticity

With this technology at your disposal, you don’t require to over-provision resources in advance to handle peak levels of business activity in the future. Rather, you provision the number of resources that are actually needed. These resources can be scaled up or down to grow & shrink capacity instantly as your business requires to change. 

3. Cost Savings

This platform allows you to trade capital expenses, like data centers & physical servers, for variable expenses and pay only for IT that you actually consume. Also, the variable costs are a lot lesser than what you would need to pay when doing it yourself due to the economies of scale. The users can skip arbitrary upfront costs, such as integration, licenses, and consultation, and get straight to goods. Here you can also reduce or eliminate capital expenditure costs and instead pay an all-encompassing monthly fee for service. 

4. Quick Global Deployment

Cloud allows expanding to new geographic regions and deploying globally in no time. For instance, AWS has infrastructure worldwide, so you can deploy your app in many physical locations pretty easily. Also, when you put your apps in closer proximity to the end-users, it reduces latency and enhances their experience. 

5. Scalability

Cloud-based apps increase/decrease the number of users as your requirement varies over time. That way, you are only paying for what you require and never worry about running out of capacity. 

6. Maintenance-Free

Often, testing and upgrading apps take up a lot of time for the IT staff, but with cloud apps, it is not required. As all of this is handled in CloudCloud, this allows your staff to devote their time to new projects & innovations. 

7. Productivity

On-site data centers need lots of racking and stacking in terms of hardware setup, software patching, and other time-consuming IT management tasks. With cloud computing, most of these tasks are not required, and this again allows your IT teams to devote their time to important business goals. 

8. Security

A laptop’s loss or theft often leads to losing confidential business data, which has serious security implications. However, cloud apps allow you to store your data securely in CloudCloud, so losing a laptop will cause minor inconvenience, but nothing more than that.    

9. Various Cloud Computing Services

Cloud computing services generally fall into four main categories, IaaS, PaaS, SaaS, and Serverless websites. Often these are referred to as cloud computing stacks as they build on top of one another. Here we describe these categories:

10. SaaS

This is software-as-a-service that is essentially a method to deliver software apps over the Internet on-demand and on a subscription basis. SaaS enables cloud providers to host and manage software apps and underlying infrastructure and maintenance, like security patches and software upgrades. Users can connect to this app over the Internet with a web browser on their tablet, phone, or PC. 

11. PaaS

This is a platform-as-a-service that supplies an on-demand environment to develop, test, deliver, and manage software apps. PaaS is designed to make it easier for the developers to quickly create web/mobile apps without stressing over setting up or managing the underlying infrastructure of servers, networks, databases, and storage required for the development.

12. IaaS

This infrastructure-as-a-service is also the most basic category of cloud computing services. IaaS allows to rent IT infrastructure – including servers & virtual machines (VMs), networks, storage, and operating systems – from a cloud provider on a pay-as-you-go basis. 

13. Serverless Websites

This category of cloud computing overlaps with PaaS and focuses on building app functionality without continually spending time managing servers and infrastructure. Serverless architectures are scalable, event-driven, and only use resources when a particular function or trigger takes place. This cloud provider handles setup, server management, and capacity planning on your part. 

What Are The Uses Of Cloud Computing?

Most people use cloud services without even realizing that they use Cloud when using an online service to send emails, edit documents, watch TV or movies, play games, store pictures & other files, or listen to music. Cloud computing makes all of this possible. Despite being just a decade old, cloud computing services are already embraced by a number of organizations, from small start-ups to global enterprises, government corporations to non-profits, for several reasons.  

Using Cloud Services From A Cloud Provider, You Can:

  • Create Cloud-Native Apps: This platform allows to build, deploy, and scale web, mobile apps, and API, pretty quickly. You can take advantage of cloud-native technologies & approaches, like containers, API-driven communication, DevOps, and microservices architecture. 
  • Test & Build Apps: The use of Cloud infrastructures helps reduce app development costs and time, making testing and building easy.
  • Data Storage, Backup & Recovery: This service is useful at protecting data cost-efficiently, and at a massive scale, by transferring data over the Internet to an offsite cloud storage system that’s easily accessible from any location or device. 
  • Data Analysis: Cloud service allows to unify of the data across teams, divisions & locations in CloudCloud. Later, use these services like artificial intelligence and machine learning for uncovering insights for more informed decisions. 
  • Stream Audio & Video: Cloud services enable connecting with the audience from anywhere, anytime, and on any device with HD (high-definition) videos & audio with global distribution. 
  • Embed Intelligence: This technology uses intuitive models to allow customer engagement and offers useful insights from captured data.
  • Deliver Software On-Demand: Also known as SaaS, it allows delivering the latest software versions & updates to customers anytime and anywhere they are. 

How Safe Is Cloud Computing?

Security and privacy of data are extremely crucial in the digital era, and Cloud Computing has a significant role to play here. Today millions of new records are generated and digitally stored in the cloud, and cloud providers must follow high-security measures to keep the data safe and secure. They must ensure secure transmission and data storage and physical security of cloud provider data center to control access rights of own employees. The cloud providers are well-aware of the integrity, availability, and confidentially of the customers’ data and great measures to protect the important data and meet safety requirements. 

Top Cloud Computing Services Providers

As it comes to PaaS and IaaS, there are just a few renowned cloud providers, like Amazon Web Services (AWS), Microsoft’s Azure, IBM, and Google. As per the data from Synergy Research, Google, Microsoft, and Amazon constantly attract more than half of worldwide cloud spending, holding Q3 market shares of 33%, 20%, and 10%, respectively. Its growth rate is higher than the overall market, and its worldwide revenues are continuously growing. And still, the chasing pack of companies can still earn a lot of revenues, around $17billion.  

The three big names are definitely Azure, AWS, and Google Cloud. Now all of these three cloud firms have their own strengths, like AWS is the most established player, and it was the reason why Amazon was able to support huge seasonal swings in demand from the consumers. It was also the first to market with cloud services and is still making best efforts to gain the market share and strives to innovate, making it the market leader. 

Next, Microsoft Azure is today the very core of Microsoft’s strategy. This firm has an enterprise history and products that support businesses as they make a switch to Cloud. 

Then we have Google Cloud, which is the smallest of the key three players, but it certainly has the might of an advertising-to-Android giant behind it. 

The other main cloud computing players are IBM Cloud, Alibaba Cloud, Hewlett Packard Enterprise, and Dell. All of them desire to be a part of the enterprise cloud project. Also, with biggies like Salesforce now down to tiny start-ups, today, almost every software firm is a SaaS firm.

Is Cloud Computing Costly Compared To Traditional Hosting?

Before getting into this comparison, let’s understand the difference between Cloud Computing and Traditional Computing:

1. Cloud Computing

This is a collective combination of configurable system resources and advanced services that is quickly delivered with the use of the Internet. It provides lower power expenses, lower employee costs, no capital costs, increased collaboration, no capital costs, etc. This computing makes businesses more efficient and secure, and it offers greater flexibility.

2. Traditional Computing

This kind of computing uses physical data centers to store digital assets and run a complete networking system for day-to-day operations. In this form of computing, the users’ access to data, software, or storage is limited to the device or the official network they are connected with. This kind of computing allows users access to data only on the system where data is stored. 

As per the business requirements, there are certain instances where traditional computing is cheaper, and in other instances, Cloud is less expensive. However, many companies have found cloud computing to cost less than traditional hosting. 

What Is The Future Of Cloud Computing?

Cloud Computing is constantly evolving, and it may soon reach a point where it will likely account for more enterprise tech spending as compared to traditional forms of delivering apps and services in-house, which have been around for years. Meanwhile, cloud usage is certain to only go high as organizations get more and more comfortable with the idea of their data being somewhere else than a server in the basement. 

Nowadays, cloud-computing vendors are pushing this kind of computing as an agent of digital transformation rather than simply focusing on the cost; migrating to Cloud allows companies to also rethink their business processes and accelerate business change. 

Author

CTO at Emizentech and a member of the Forbes technology council, Amit Samsukha, is acknowledged by the Indian tech world as an innovator and community builder. He has a well-established vocation with 12+ years of progressive experience in the technology industry. He directs all product initiatives, worldwide sales and marketing, and business enablement. He has spearheaded the journey in the e-commerce landscape for various businesses in India and the U.S.