Cloud computing delivers a range of computing services through the internet, such as storage, servers, software and databases. It is growing in popularity for companies across the UK.
But can cloud computing help your business to grow and develop? Here we look at what cloud computing services can do, as well as the different options available that could be perfect for the needs of your business.
What can cloud computing be used for?
It is likely the case that your business already uses cloud computing services to certain extent even if you don’t realise that is what they are. For example, if you use a purely online service for emails, storage or creating and editing documents, then cloud services will likely be involved. However, cloud computer offers a huge range of possibilities that you might not even be aware are possible.
Cloud services can be used to store and backup data, provide software on demand, help you to create new apps and even provide you will the ability to analyse data for patterns. Cloud computing can be beneficial for companies of all sizes and across a wide variety of industries, so it really is worth looking into the range of companies that offer these services to see if they can help you.
Three types of cloud computing
To understand whether cloud computing is right for your business it is important to note a distinction between the three major categories of cloud computing services that you can choose from. These are known by the acronyms: IaaS, PaaS, and SaaS. They each refer to a kind of service that you can receive from a provider.
- Infrastructure as a service (IaaS) – this is the first level of cloud computing services where a business will hire IT infrastructure such as servers, networks and storage from a cloud services provider. Usually available on a pay-as-you-go basis, this can be extremely beneficial for smaller companies that are looking to grow.
- Platform as a service (PaaS) – providing an environment for creating, testing and managing software and applications, PaaS is typically supplied on-demand to make it simpler for developers to create mobile and web applications without the burden of managing the infrastructure for development.
- Software as a Service (SaaS) – often offered on a subscription SaaS provides software applications as well as managing the infrastructure, maintenance and upgrades as required.
There are other forms of cloud computing services available, in including a broader all-encompassing package, sometimes known as ‘everything as a service’ or EaaS. MongoDB is leading the way in the ‘Database as a Service‘ (DBaaS) department.
Three types of deployment
As well as types of services that are available there are also different ways that cloud services can be ‘deployed’. These are public, private and hybrid.
- Public – public cloud computing is operated and managed by a cloud service provider such as Microsoft Azure or Amazon Web Services. The provider manages all of the hardware, software and the general infrastructure features, and this is the most typical option for cloud computing services used by smaller businesses. See this list of support options available with Azure, from provider Wirehive.
- Private – a private cloud is one that is run by a business for its own use. These are usually only an option for larger businesses, with infrastructure and other services maintained on a private network. Some businesses with private cloud employ third-party providers to host it for them.
- Hybrid – as the name suggests, this is a hybrid of both public and private clouds offering greater flexibility and deployment options.
What are the benefits of choosing cloud computing?
Cloud computing can actually have a huge range of benefits for your business depending on how you use the services and what you want to achieve. Some of the advantages of cloud computing include:
- Productivity and management – having your own servers and data centres can be a very complex business that involves serious time investment from your IT staff. Everything from setting up hardware to patching software can take time. Using cloud services takes away this need to manage your own infrastructure.
- The costs – clearly one of the most prohibitive factors in hardware and software is the cost involved. Cloud service providers simply charge you for the services you need so you don’t need to worry about the initial costs nor the ongoing maintenance budget.
- Reliability – if you ever worried about losing data due to disasters or failing backups, this can be taken off your mind with cloud computing.