The cloud uses the internet as a way of delivering computing services. That could be storage, networking, servers or software. The key difference to note is that these services are received over the internet and are, typically, paid for on the basis of how much they are used.
What’s the alternative to the cloud?
The cloud has evolved out of the frustrations that many businesses and individuals have experienced. If you’re not using the cloud to access servers or software, for example, then you will need to own those servers or software yourself. That often means significant upfront purchasing costs, maintenance expenses, as well as bearing the entire security burden.
How is cloud computing used?
There are many different ways in which businesses and individuals can use the cloud. Some of the functions that cloud computing can enable include data storage, backup and recovery services, the ability to stream audio and video, being able to access software on demand and hosting websites and blogs.
Public cloud vs. private cloud
On the whole, the public cloud infrastructure provides enough resources and support for most organisations. The public cloud is made up of shared resources – e.g. storage and applications – that are presented to the cloud user as a single virtualised service. The private cloud is a dedicated service that is not shared and is only made available to the user it was created for. There are benefits to both of these – and they can be merged into a hybrid cloud for those seeking something more bespoke.
The benefits of the cloud
The cloud offers different benefits for every organisation but there are some key advantages that tend to appeal across the board, including:
- Cutting costs. Economies of scale make a much wider range of resources and services available at a much lower cost than purchasing each of these individually for the business.
- Scalability. Cloud services can be swiftly scaled up to cope with an increase in demand and then pared back when that need reduces.
- Streamlining. Cloud services remove many functions that can hold internal departments back – for example server maintenance is handled by the cloud provider leaving an internal IT team free to focus on more value adding tasks.
- Security and backup. Data backup and security tend to be more reliable and easy to access when handled by cloud providers.
- The latest innovation. Working with cloud systems provides access to the latest software and processes at a fraction of the cost of acquiring these exclusively for a business. So, performance can be improved because you’re always working with the latest and most effective systems and upgrades.