Cloud computing refers to the practice of storing, manipulating, and sharing data online via third party servers. There are many perceived perks of migrating to a virtual server network, including reduced IT infrastructure costs and the expedited creation/rollout of apps. Users can also take advantage of scalable storage and backup/data-recovery services.
Benefits of Cloud Computing
Cloud computing provides users with instant access to an integrated network of pre-seeded virtual servers. This presents companies with many potentially beneficial options in terms of streamlining and expanding online business operations.
Benefits of cloud computing include:
- Reduced Startup Costs
Companies wishing to provide customers/clients with access to professional online applications may forgo the startup costs, maintenance costs, and housing costs of IT infrastructure.
- Instant Access to Apps
Cloud Computing provides access to servers that are pre-seeded with relevant software, removing the need for skilled app development staff and eliminating the associated costs of purchasing bespoke applications.
The integrated network of cloud servers provides users with instant scalability in response to online traffic. This means fast load speeds and is beneficial in terms of client retention.
- Online Security Features
Third party cloud computing providers deploy robust antimalware technology as a means of protecting all onsite servers. This means that user data is protected against the threat of malicious online activity.
- Greater Productivity
Cloud computing promotes productivity in two ways. First, time required for IT upgrades and maintenance (in terms of both software and hardware) is outsourced to the data centre service provider. Second, rolling software updates ensure optimal load speeds and efficient online interactions. This results in increased levels of online client interaction.
What is a Service Level Agreement? The details relating to the delivery of cloud computing services are stipulated in the SLA. For example, a business may require above 95% bandwidth access to apps during peak trading hours. Backup and data recovery services are also outlined in the SLA - this includes agreed limits on downtime following IT issues.
Common Uses for Cloud Computing
Cloud computing as a service is most commonly accessed by companies wishing to provide a wide base of customers/clients with access to online applications. Therefore, cloud computing has many uses depending on the type of service being offered by the user. Examples of uses for cloud computing include:
- Media Streaming
- Hosting - e.g. Blog
- App Creation/Rollout Services
- Backup & Data Recovery Services
Types of Cloud Computing
Cloud computing services are commonly available in three formats: public cloud, private cloud, and hybrid cloud. A company may choose to deploy one, two, or all three types of cloud computing as part of an online business model - the major difference between the three formats is typically seen as a difference in the degree of online security.
- Public Cloud
A public cloud is comprised of one or more offsite servers housed by a third party provider. Access to apps is public, with all users able to access apps as outlined in the service level agreement.
- Private Cloud
A private cloud refers to an exclusive computer network wherein stored apps are rendered inaccessible to other users. Private cloud solutions are offered by third party providers. Businesses may alternatively choose to privately house and maintain the IT infrastructure.
- Hybrid Cloud
A hybrid cloud exists as a solution for businesses that prefer exclusive access to one or more apps whilst also retaining access to other shared apps on the third party network.