In simple terms, cloud computing “is the delivery of on-demand computing services — from applications to storage and processing power — typically over the internet and on a pay-as-you-go basis.” Cloud computing enables enterprises to reduce operating costs, scale according to their needs, and run infrastructure. By leveraging cloud computing services, companies can take advantage of economies of scale, quicker innovation, and flexible assets and tools.

Moreover, through renting access to applications, storage, etc. from a given cloud service vendor, organizations can avoid owning data centers or computing infrastructure. Thus, cloud computing allows businesses to steer clear of the complications and financial burdens associated with owning, operating, and maintaining their own IT infrastructure. With cloud computing, enterprises can pay only for the services, applications, features, etc. that best fit their demands when they need them.

Available Cloud Computing Services

A large expanse of offerings, like storage, processing power, and networking, are made available via cloud computing services. So long as proximity to physical hardware is not required, cloud computing makes a whole host of tools and services available to users. However, not all cloud providers provide the same services. Each cloud provider supplies its unique benefits and features, so enterprises must determine which will best meet their needs. And the first part of doing so is deciding on a type of cloud computing deployment: a public cloud, a private cloud, or a hybrid cloud.

Public Cloud

Owned and operated by third-party providers, public clouds deliver resources via the Internet. Widely regarded as the classic cloud computing model, a public cloud empowers users to access a robust wealth of computing power shared amongst a sizeable sum of customers. With a public cloud, organizations have the freedom to scale services to their changing needs. Furthermore, a public cloud entrusts the cloud provider to own and manage all software, hardware, and additional infrastructure. Companies with less-sensitive applications that require access to diverse resources often turn to a public cloud.

Private Cloud

With a private cloud, businesses can take advantage of many of the same public cloud offerings, with the additional protection found with a corporate firewall. In other words, a private cloud supplies cloud computing services to a solitary company or organization. As a result, companies can retain control over where their data is stored and construct infrastructure in the ways they choose. And although “a private cloud can be physically located on the company’s on-site datacenter[,]… some companies also pay third-party service providers to host their private cloud.” In maintaining services and infrastructure on a private network, a private cloud enables enterprises to grant developers access to an abundance of computing power, offering both flexibilities of scale and sustained security. Thus, a private cloud can be an efficient option for companies that demand elevated levels of security. 

Hybrid Cloud

A hybrid cloud permits applications and data to move amongst cloud technologies by combining public and private clouds. In turn, through adopting a hybrid cloud approach, enterprises can benefit from enhanced flexibility, expanded development options, and optimization of existing security, compliance, and infrastructure. A hybrid cloud offers users the freedom to devise the best-fit cloud approach for their organizations, utilizing several vendors and enabling data storage on both the public cloud and private cloud. Moreover, companies using a hybrid cloud benefit from thorough disaster recovery planning, all while circumventing any hardware costs incurred due to data center expansion.

Importance of Cloud Computing

Over a third of global IT spending is geared towards building infrastructure to support and host cloud computing services. Computing workloads consistently transition to public and private cloud services while spending on standard, in-house IT continues to plummet. As such, half of the worldwide businesses currently using the cloud are predicted to transition to cloud computing services entirely by 2021.

Nevertheless, the demand for cloud computing services has grown and continues to grow at a more rapid rate than initially anticipated by analysts. Not only do enterprises actively want to make their move to the cloud, but there is also a slew of vendors that have begun offering their products exclusively via cloud services. And this can ultimately be attributed to the fact that cloud subscriptions have the potential to bring in more cash flow and produce greater productivity.

Infrastructure-as-a-Service (Iaas)

Infrastructure-as-a-Service (IaaS) is the most fundamental type of cloud computing service. Via IaaS, physical servers, virtual servers, storage, operating systems, networks, etc. can be rented from a cloud vendor on a pay-as-you-go-basis. Appealing to enterprises looking to construct applications from start to finish, IaaS empowers users to retain control of nearly all elements without necessitating the technical skills to arrange services. 

Platform-as-a-Service (Paas)

Referring to cloud computing services that provide an on-demand environment for users to develop, test, deliver, control, and oversee applications, Platform-as-a-Service (PaaS) enables developers to generate applications for web or mobile use seamlessly. With PaaS, developers need not worry about originating or controlling the necessary underlying infrastructure of servers, databases, networks, etc.

Software-as-a-Service (SaaS)

A basis for delivering software applications via the Internet, Software-as-a-Service (SaaS) is available on-demand and usually through a subscription. To put it simply, SaaS is the delivery of software applications as a service. SaaS tends to be the most utilized variety of cloud computing. SaaS entrusts cloud vendors with the responsibility of hosting and managing software applications and infrastructure while also overseeing maintenance. In addition, SaaS enables users to access services through apps or web browsers, eliminating the need to devote attention to operating systems and hardware. 

Benefits of Cloud Computing

Although benefits alter depending upon the type of cloud service used, leveraging cloud services can allow organizations to avoid buying and maintaining computing infrastructure. Without having to purchase servers, update operating systems and apps, and discard out of date hardware or software, businesses can focus on developing high-quality products.  Fostering a high level of business agility, cloud computing allows enterprises to take up new services with speed and ease. On top of this elasticity, businesses utilizing cloud computing pay solely for resources as they are needed and used. Overall, cloud computing offers users enhanced security and elevated productivity, enabling faster movement on projects and concepts without hefty upfront costs.