Why the “Cloud”?
The term “Cloud” has been used for several decades in relation to IT. Originally it was used within old telecom network schematics to refer to parts that were just not relevant to go into details over, so it was represented as a cloud image. Cloud computing as a term became popular in the early 2000s to describe the services offered that allowed for on-demand IT resource delivery over the internet. However, the concept of providing computing as a service has been around since the 1960s.
What are Cloud Services?
Cloud computing services include a range of on-demand services provided over the internet to companies and customers without them having to own the computing infrastructure or data centres. Instead of having to run programs and software that are physically on their computers or servers, companies can have affordable access to flexible resources without the complexity and expense, by paying for what they use. The computing essentially happens on remote serves (cloud servers), and the data collected is also stored remotely. The cloud service providers are also able to benefit from significant economies of scale by delivering the services to a range of customers.
The services that are offered as cloud services include;
Cloud computing services can be generally divided into three categories;
1) Infrastructure as a Service (IaaS): providing access to essential infrastructures such as servers, network components, and storage. E.g. Amazon web services
2) Platform as a Service (PaaS): used by developers to develop, test, maintain software. It was created to support the whole application life cycle. E.g. OpenShift
3) Software as a Service (SaaS): giving access to applications and software through subscriptions over the internet. E.g. Microsoft 365
What are the benefits of cloud services?
Cloud services have become very popular and increasingly adopted by companies and customers due to the benefits that they can bring;
Companies don’t need to purchase and maintain costly equipment for their IT needs as well as not requiring a large IT team. With an increasing number of cloud service providers, the competition is higher, and so prices for cloud storage will fall at the same time as storage capacity increases.
Faster IT equipment
Computer memory and power of individual computers are freed up by the use of cloud services, as software and data are not stored on the device.
Often the biggest concern for people, but cloud service providers will offer advanced data security features. Data that is processed by cloud storage providers will implement authentication, access control and encryption. Combined with the organisation’s security measures will protect sensitive data.
When data is stored in the cloud it can be recovered should there be a problem with the hardware. Even destruction of on-site systems through any means, the data is all easily accessed with any device connected to the internet.
Cloud services give organisations the flexibility to easily and quickly scale up/down IT requirements depending on their business needs.
When resources are in the cloud, they are stored, retrieved, recovered or processed with a couple of clicks. Access to works is available 24/7 and anywhere with internet on smartphones and devices.
With the advancement of services available as well as the changing work culture allowing more people to more easily take work on the road or work from home, the use of cloud services is likely only to increase. With the help of IoT, the growth of cloud services will only increase as the quality of the internet is improving.