Despite today’s giant growth and popularity of “the cloud”, there are plenty of misconceptions which may be preventing organizations from embracing the opportunities it offers. Is it safe? Where does your data actually exist? Why can’t we just keep storing things on regular hard drives?
So… what is Cloud Computing?
Cloud computing basically refers to sharing resources, software, and information through a network. In the simplest terms, cloud computing means storing and accessing data and programs over the Internet instead of your computer’s hard drive. In today’s modern world even those using cloud services may not even realize they are. Using “the cloud” includes such daily activities as listening to music, live streaming, storing and editing documents and files, sending emails, etc.
However, not all clouds are the same and not one type of cloud computing is right for every person, and every business.
There 3 are Different Types.
There are 3 key forms to know: Public, Private and Hybrid.
- Public clouds are owned and operated by a third-party cloud service provider, which deliver their computing resources like servers and storage over the Internet. With a public cloud, all hardware, software, and other supporting infrastructure is owned and managed by the cloud provider. You access these services and manage your account using a web browser.
- A private cloud refers to cloud computing resources used exclusively by a single business or organization. A private cloud can be physically located on the company’s on-site datacenter. Many companies also pay third-party service providers to host their private cloud. A private cloud is one in which the services and infrastructure are maintained on a private network.
- Hybrid clouds combine public + private clouds, bound together by technology that allows data and apps to be shared between them. By allowing data to move between private and public clouds, a hybrid cloud gives your business greater flexibility, more deployment options, and helps optimize your existing infrastructure, security, and compliance.
The Cloud is more than a SaaS.
Most cloud computing services fall into four broad categories: IaaS, PaaS, SaaS and Serverless. Knowing what they are and how they’re different makes it much easier to accomplish your business goals.
- Infrastructure as a service (IaaS) provides access to server hardware, storage, network capacity, and other fundamental computing resources.
- Platform as a service (PaaS) provides access to basic operating software and services to develop and use customer-created software applications.
- Software as a service (SaaS) provides integrated access to a provider’s software applications. With SaaS, cloud providers host/manage the software application and central infrastructure, and handle any maintenance (software upgrades and security patching).
- Serverless computing is computing that technically still requires servers, so the name is misleading. However, it focuses on building app functionality without spending time continually managing the servers and infrastructure required to do so. The cloud provider handles the setup, capacity planning, and server management for you.
There are plenty of advantages.
There is no doubt that businesses are reaping huge benefits from cloud computing. The reality is that the cloud is helping thousands of small businesses with their daily operations. It levels the playing field by giving them access to the same features that large corporations enjoy.
- Cost savings. Although the initial price tag for migrating to the cloud can give some businesses sticker shock, there are attractive opportunities for ROI. Operating on the cloud typically means adopting a pay-as-you-go model, which means you no longer have to pay for IT you’re not using (whether that’s storage, bandwidth, etc.).
- Reliability. A managed cloud platform is generally much more reliable than an in-house IT infrastructure, with fewer instances of downtime or service interruptions. Most providers offer 24/7 support and over 99.9% availability. With backups for their backups, you can rest assured your data and applications will be available whenever you need them.
- Mobility. The cloud brings a level of portability unheard of with traditional IT delivery. By managing your data and software on the cloud, employees can access necessary information and communicate with each other whenever and wherever they want from their laptop, smartphone, or other Internet-connected devices.
With Benefit comes Risk.
Many companies feel safer knowing their data and sensitive information is stored on a physical hard drive, because it can physically be seen and touched. It offers a comfort to many that haven’t yet embraced the cloud concept.
Security is one of the most major issues with cloud computing. Being entirely based on the Internet makes it vulnerable to hack attacks. But logically speaking, all the modern IT systems today are constantly connected to the Internet. Other common risks include:
- Environmental security: The concentration of computing resources and users in a cloud computing environment also represents a concentration of security threats.
- Data privacy: Hosting confidential data with cloud service providers involves the transfer of a considerable amount of an organization’s control over data security to the provider.
- Record retention requirements: If your business is subject to record retention requirements, it’s important that your cloud provider understands what they are and so they can meet them.
- Disaster recovery: Hosting your computing resources and data at a cloud provider makes the cloud provider’s disaster recovery capabilities enormously important.
Is it Better “in the Cloud”?
Depending on your criteria, yes! It is easy to see how the advantages of cloud computing certainly outweigh the drawbacks. Decreased costs, reduced downtime, and less management effort are benefits that speak for themselves.
At the end of the day, cloud-based solutions open up opportunities for more remote work and higher productivity and efficiency as everyone is assured access to the same updated information at the touch of a button.
Still foggy on how cloud computing works for your business? Synchroworks can help to clarify your specific cloud needs and operations by visualizing your infrastructure. Contact us today!