The Complete Guide to Cloud Computing
Organizations and businesses of all sizes use cloud computing.
Everything from email to software development to healthcare records can be securely stored on a private cloud. Cloud-based software is updating and changing so quickly that it's a constant challenge for in-house IT personnel to keep up with it. Cloud computing and outsourcing your IT functions instead can benefit your organization.
Cloud computing helps businesses save time, money and resources. These businesses can focus on their other business operations, knowing that their IT infrastructure is in capable hands. Use this guide to help determine if cloud computing may be a good option for your organization.
What Is Cloud Computing?
Cloud computing involves outsourcing your computing infrastructures like software, storage, servers, databases, networking and more to a cloud service provider. Making those infrastructures accessible over the internet, rather than being housed on-site, enables businesses of all sizes to provide faster innovation and flexible, on-demand resources for customers and employees. The third-party provider hosts data and programs to allow for more processing power on your hard drive, promote collaboration and allow for secure access to files and applications from any device with an internet connection.
Cloud computing services offer a more efficient way to run your business's infrastructure and scale it as you grow or change it.
Types of Cloud Computing
Many services fall under three main types of cloud computing — Infrastructure as a Service (IaaS), Platform as a Service (PaaS) and Software as a Service (SaaS). Each type builds on one another, providing different levels of management, control and flexibility. Each type is also available as public or private cloud services, depending on the provider. Cloud computing is a highly customizable type of service, and the different types of cloud computing allow each business to find the right services for their needs.
The base level of cloud computing, IaaS, provides an IT infrastructure from the cloud provider. You'll have access to features like servers, storage, operating systems, networks and more. Infrastructure as a Service leaves the most room for businesses to customize the cloud services for themselves, making it a common choice for tech-savvy companies.
Platform as a Service is the preferred cloud computing service for developers and creators. The cloud provider handles all the data, security and infrastructure systems, creating an ideal environment for developing, testing and managing a business's software. This aspect of PaaS allows your business to be more efficient while focusing on deploying software applications.
With SaaS, cloud service providers help businesses deliver on-demand software applications accessible to users on any mobile device. The cloud provider is responsible for hosting and managing the software and its infrastructure and handling the maintenance. With everything taken care of on the IT end, your business only needs to consider how it will use the software. Software as a Service is the most common form of cloud computing, used for popular applications like Microsoft Office 365 or Google Apps.
Uses and Applications of Cloud Computing
Businesses can apply cloud computing services in a variety of ways. Many people might be surprised to discover they use cloud computing every day. However big or small your business is, there are numerous opportunities to integrate cloud computing. Here are some common services that cloud providers offer:
- Store and recover data: Store your business's data more cost-effectively on a larger scale. Remote cloud storage systems can store and recover your data and make the data accessible from any device.
- Build and test applications: Whether you're developing an entirely new software application or testing the expansion of an existing one, cloud computing can help you build and test applications quickly.
- Stream video and audio: Stream audio and video to connect with your customers and audience from any location or device.
- Deliver on-demand software: Offer your customers the latest software updates as they need them from wherever they are.
To find out specific ways your business can use cloud computing, consult with a professional cloud computing service.
Benefits of Cloud Computing
Many businesses are moving to cloud computing services. While doing so is a significant shift from traditional IT resources, they find that the benefits are well worth the change.
With cloud computing services, businesses save money on buying, maintaining, and storing hardware and software and the cost of electricity to run it. Since the cloud provider manages the computer infrastructure, you'll also save the expense of hiring in-house IT experts. Additionally, most cloud computing services charge businesses on an as-used basis, which means you only pay for what you use.
Ability to Scale Up and Down
All businesses have needs that change over time. While accounting for future changes used to mean occasionally overcompensating in the present, cloud computing gives you the ability to quickly scale your resources up or down as your needs change.
Cloud computing includes elastic scale, the ability to deploy applications and infrastructure globally. Businesses can deliver the right amount of computing power, bandwidth, storage and more at any moment and from any location.
Cloud computing services are reliable ways to quickly access or recover data during power outages or other disasters. Cloud computing helps ensure business continuity even during disruptions.
Cloud Computing Challenges
As with traditional IT practices, cloud computing has a set of challenges along with its numerous benefits. It's essential to be aware of the challenges you might face with this shift in order to prepare for them. Some of these include:
- Cloud security: Security is a challenge for any technological service, with the risk of hackers and data breaches. Be sure the cloud provider you're choosing to work with is transparent about how they handle sensitive information.
- Unpredictable costs: While pay-as-consumed plans can be extremely cost-efficient, they can also be challenging to budget. Studying past trends and keeping abreast of fluctuating demands and scaling resources will help you predict your final costs.
- Cloud migration: Migrating existing applications and data can be complicated, especially when moving your own infrastructure to the cloud. Some complications may include lengthy project times and over-budget costs.
Before committing to a cloud computing service, be sure to find out how they'll help you with the challenges you'll be facing.
Contact Prelude for Cloud Computing Services
Prelude Services offers private IT cloud computing services with enhanced security compliant with HIPAA regulations for storing sensitive information. Our 24x7 service desk is here to support any IT issues that may arise with technical expertise and engaged and patient customer service.
Prelude Cloud Computing is secure and SSAE 18-compliant so you can feel confident your data is in good hands. Contact Prelude for more information about our computing services!