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The word “Cloud computing” refers to the process of carrying out tasks remotely over the internet in a commercially available data center.” In a simple way, it is the access to several computing services like servers, databases, software, analytics, etc. over the internet.
The services over the internet are called the cloud. The term “cloud computing” has gained widespread use over the last few years. As society has transformed into a digital age, there is an exponential increase in data. Therefore, it has become a difficult task for all the people and organizations to store the data on in-house computer servers.
The solution lies in the advantages of cloud computing which has recently gained widespread application for businesses. The technology follows the simple principle, i.e. allowing the users to use all files without having to store them in their own computers. Services like Gmail, Google Drive, etc. are a few applications of cloud-based technology that everyone uses in their day-to-day lives.
All the clouds are not the same and have different computing facilities for everyone. Based on everyone’s needs, the clouds have evolved providing a specific solution to the users. Three different types of cloud computing architecture are presented:
Types of Cloud Computing
1. Public Cloud
The public clouds are provided by third-party owners. They deliver storage and services over the internet. An example of a public cloud is Microsoft Azure. The hardware and the infrastructure for managing the cloud are maintained by the third party. A web browser is provided for accessing the services.
2. Private Cloud
The cloud system is owned by a private organization or business. The services are exclusively used by the organization. The private cloud may be located in the company’s data center or they might pay the third-party services for hosting their cloud. All the services and the infrastructure are maintained privately.
3. Hybrid cloud
The combination of both the private and the public clouds generates the hybrid cloud. The data and applications are allowed to be shared between them. Therefore, greater flexibility, infrastructure optimization, is offered to businesses as they can share and move the data and applications from private and public clouds.
People have been using the cloud in their day-to-day lives through Google Drive, Gmail, Facebook, etc. With the development of the cloud-based system:
- There will be high security of the data.
- There will be easy social networking.
- The work of a business will be conducted in a faster approach with a reduction in half of their costs.
- Analytical approach to logistics reducing thefts, loss of assets, and legal complications.
- The business process is to be improved by 40% and around 80% of businesses are to transfer to cloud-based systems.
Types of Cloud Services
1. Infrastructure as a Service (Iaas)
It is the most basic form of cloud computing services. It offers computation, storage, and resources on demand. It also has the feature on a pay-as-you-go basis.
2. Platform as a service (PaaS)
These types of services are provided on demand for developing, testing, delivering, and managing software applications. Widely used by the developers for developing web or mobile apps, without the setting up of underlying infrastructure for app development.
3. Serverless computing
The services provide the developers with resources without the need for managing and setting up their own environment. The server automatically provides and manages the infrastructure required for running a code. Due to its fact that the provision of infrastructure and its management is hidden to the developer, the name “serverless” has been set so.
4. Software as a service (Saas)
These services allow the user to use cloud-based applications over the internet. Examples of SaaS include email, office tools, etc. The service provides software solutions on a pay-as-you-go basis. The organization can rent an app that is then connected by its users over the internet. The infrastructure of the app, app data, etc. is all stored in the service provider’s data center.
Benefits of Cloud Computing
It has been stated that 94% of businesses have seen an improvement in security and 91% of businesses agreed that the cloud system has met up to their government compliance requirements.
Be it the public or the private sector, for dealing with any large applications, cloud computing has been the platform of choice. Especially in customer-facing ones which need to scale dynamically or change frequently. The public clouds have been leading the technology in enterprises debuting new advances before they are applied anywhere else.
Several benefits of cloud computing are:
With the presence of the cloud everywhere, no one can escape it. The omnipresence nature of the cloud allows the key access to transparent and tractable data. Multi-users can work in the cloud at the same time without any problems. Therefore it builds up a robust network reducing the costs.
- Cost saving
The cost of maintaining and managing the IT systems are reduced on moving to the cloud. The resources provided by cloud computing can reduce the cost of purchasing expensive systems for the business. The operating cost will be reduced as:
- There will be no cost of the system upgrade, as no new hardware and software will be required.
- The company has to no longer pay wages to staff for handling the IT equipment.
- As there will be no IT systems, there will be a reduction in energy consumption.
- The time delays are minimal.
There is always stress from the business owners which makes them protect their Data throughout the night. Well, with the advent of cloud-based technology this stress can be reduced. There are always arguments regarding the cloud-based platforms being at risk by the hackers. However, the heavy encryption of the data in the cloud reduces the risk of data being hacked.
The availability of the cloud system offers the business to scale up or scale down quickly as per the situation and the change in needs. Further using the cloud frees up the time of the organizations which can be utilized in running the business.
- Business continuity
One of the important parts of business continuity planning is the securing of data. Storing the data in the cloud ensures the safe backup of the data during scenarios of power failure or natural disaster. The data is stored in a safe location and the quick access to the data again after a crisis allows the business to go on smoothly without the loss of productivity.
The storage of the data in a cloud, it benefits the collaborating organizations as they are able to communicate easily rather than the traditional methods of communicating. People working on a project from different locations are highly benefited by cloud computing as they can get access to the same files. The cloud computing model can also be developed in a way for the secured sharing of records with the advisors or accountant.
- Flexibility in the work
With the development of the cloud, the employees get the benefit of working from anywhere. More flexibility is offered to the employees as they can access the data while off-site quickly and easily.
With the development of mobile technology, the corporate data can be accessed via smartphones and devices. The feature can be effectively used by those staff who have a busy schedule and reside a long way away from the corporate office. They can constantly keep themselves up to date with the clients and the co-worker. Freelance employees and staff who work in sales or in remote areas are benefited as they get convenient access to the information.
With the transformation of the world into a digital age, the old saying “knowledge is power” is getting transformed with the fact that “Data is money”. Various types of information stay hidden behind any customer transaction and business process. The information needs to be identified and acted upon.
Usage of the right cloud computing system will provide access to that data. Along with the cloud-based storage systems, there are solutions providing a bird’s eye view of the data providing the analytics of the data. Tracking mechanisms can be implemented to build customized reports.
An insight into this information increases the efficiency of the organization and helps in building plans to meet the goals of the organization. A leading company increased its profits by around $2 million a year with cloud-based business insights and reduced the staffing cost by $195,000.
- Quality Control
Inconsistent reporting and poor quality are a few things that are detrimental to the success of a business. With the application of the cloud-based system, all the files and data are stored in a single format and location. This reduces the chances of human errors as everyone can access the same file further maintaining the consistency in the data. This further aids in the benefits of accidentally saving documents of different versions which creates confusion and dilutes the data.
- Loss prevention
Without the organization investing in a cloud-computing solution, the business data is meant to be stored and saved in the local computers residing in the organization. If any problem arises in the hardware of the machine, the organization might end up losing the data permanently.
Malfunctioning of computers may occur due to several reasons like virus attack, hardware deterioration, or simple user error. The data might even be stolen or misplaced. Therefore, without the cloud system, several risks are associated with the data. However, the information remains safe if it has been uploaded to the cloud. It also offers the facility of easy access through internet connection even if the local computer is not working.
- Software updates
It is quite a hassle to keep updating the software and systems from time to time. In the case of local systems, manual updating of the systems is required. However, the cloud-based systems and applications need not be manually updated, as it automatically gets updated.
The IT departments are no longer forced to do the manual update in an organization. As a result, money required to be spent on outside IT consultation is saved and also the IT staff time.
- Carbon footprint
The sustainability of an organization depends on the identification of wastefulness and finding solutions that address these issues at every level of the business. With the availability of the cloud system, there is a lesser carbon footprint and hence, the cloud-based system is more environmentally friendly.
Cloud-based infrastructures involve virtual services cutting down on physical products and hardware. Therefore there is a reduction in paper waste, and computer-emitted emissions. This improves the efficiency of an organization. A report predicted the drop of energy consumption by 31% from 2010 to 2020 with the application of cloud computing and virtual data options.
- Easy set-up
The management of the cloud services is quite easy compared to the earlier methods as the data is organized and stored in the cloud with easy access to it.
- Competitive edge
While many organizations prefer to go with the traditional way of data storage and management, they miss out on several advantages provided by cloud-based technology. The remote accessibility promotes higher production, trackability of the data provides an analytical approach to work, and the users are allowed to focus on a project with result-oriented due to the streamlined facility of the platform.
- Complete control
Due to lagged operations, data loss, etc, organizations face immense scrutiny. Therefore, it is required that there should be control over the ongoing actions of the company. This is assured through the cloud-based platform. Giving control to the management, streamlines the work according to the employee’s task providing the employee’s unique access to the tasks. Therefore, there is a clear understanding of the work, and a straight path is followed to the task execution.
The in-house IT structure might lead to poor task execution or a breakdown. Space optimization is a big problem in the in-house IT sector. This might end up with a low turnaround time and the inability of the organization to meet up the customer requirement.
With the advancement in cloud technology, the effect could be mitigated, giving some flexibility to the companies. The flexibility given by the cloud allows the organizations to engage in last-minute changes and still have ease of work. Also, the ability of the cloud system to make quick decisions without considering its impact on the IT infrastructure is something that is the most desired.
- 24*7 availability
The cloud service providers are quite reliable in offering the services. They maintain an uptime of 99.9%. Also, with the facility of some applications provided to be functional even being offline, the workers can get the applications basically from anywhere.
- Documents control
Before the advent of cloud-based technology, workers had to share documents and files as email attachments with one single user at a time. It ultimately creates a mess of formats, and file content. The movement of the organizations to the cloud environment has facilitated central file storage.
- Easy management
The interface of the cloud computing environment is simple and easily manageable. There is no requirement of installation which assures that every worker can easily use it.
- Services as pay-per-use
The cloud-based technology provides Application Programming Interfaces (APIs) which provide access to its services through charging a fee as per the usage of the service.
- Unlimited storage
A huge amount of data storing facilities are provided by cloud-based technology. Any type of important data such as documents, images, video, audio, etc. can be easily stored in one place.
Cloud computing models have become an indispensable part of any company today. As per the size of a business, technical requirements, and budget, companies can choose the service they want. Cloud computing has helped save costs and enhance business operations for many organizations all over the world.
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