The cloud. We’ve all heard someone say it. “Save it to the cloud”, “It’s ok, it’s backed up to the cloud”. But when we’re referring to this mystery cloud, what do we actually mean? 

When cloud computing was first coined in 2006 by Google CEO Eric Schmidt, it was met with some trepidation. Many people nervously turned their heads to the sky in bewilderment, and IT departments worldwide faced an uphill battle trying to stress the importance of adopting the cloud.

Nowadays, it’s a different story. By 2023 the public service cloud market is expected to be worth £449.43 billion, and in 2020 94% of businesses attested to using a cloud service.

In the wake of a global pandemic where the working world has changed from offices to homes – and looks set to stay that way – we’ve relied on cloud computing more than ever.

But if you’re still unsure of its true meaning, how it works, and why it’s so important, we’ve got you covered.

Extreme close up of database

(Source)

Cloud Computing definition

Simply defined, cloud computing is the delivery of IT computing services such as storage space, servers, databases, networking access and applications using the internet (the “cloud”) to provide an on-demand service. 

A popular example of an application using cloud computing is streaming service, Netflix. Netflix uses AWS, Amazon Web Service, to store its database of programmes and then allows users networking access to the database provided they are connected to the internet.

Typically cloud computing services tend to be on a Pay As You Go payment plan. That means you only pay for the storage you use to store files, host databases and applications, and allow networking access. This makes it a cost-efficient option for many businesses through the lowering of operating costs and built in scalability. 

What are the main benefits of Cloud Computing?

The five main advantages of cloud computing are: 

  1. Cost

Cloud computing enables businesses to reduce the costs accrued when purchasing hardware, software and on-site data centres. For both small and established businesses, cloud computing helps balance the budget a lot more effectively than if they were to manage their storage and networking independently.

  1. Speed

Cloud computing is on-demand and self-service. That means that business resources, like databases and servers, can be accessed immediately by authorised persons in just a few clicks.

  1. Productivity

Data centres which are based on-site very often require software updates, patches and other IT chores. Cloud computing eliminates all of this, freeing the IT department up to focus on much more important tasks, and allowing the rest of the workforce to work without interruption.

  1. Reliability 

Cloud computing offers an unparalleled protection against worst-case scenarios like data loss. Data backup, disaster recovery and business continuity are all made easier and less expensive because the data can be mirrored using other sites on the providers network. 

  1. Security

Organisations using cloud computing technology are better protected against cybersecurity threats because their data is hidden behind encrypted security processes supplied by cloud service providers. The data is also not on the businesses network, rendering it inaccessible for cyber attackers.

Cloud computing is a huge part of the digital transformations that many businesses are undergoing. Read more about what digital transformation means for your organisation here.

What are the 3 types of Cloud Computing?

There are three main types of cloud computing, and there are three main cloud computing services.

Firstly, the three main types of cloud computing involve three different types of “cloud”. These are:

  1. The Public Cloud

Google Cloud, Adobe Creative Cloud and Microsoft Azure are all examples of third-party cloud service providers who both own and operate their clouds, but allow network access for public consumption. Hardware, software and supporting infrastructure are all managed by third-party cloud providers, and users simply access the cloud service using a web portal.

  1. The Private Cloud

Private clouds are those owned by private businesses and organisations. Private clouds are usually located at an organisation’s on-site data centre, but can occasionally be hosted by third-party cloud providers. Private clouds are maintained and hosted on a private network, and only authorised users will have access.

  1. The Hybrid Cloud

Hybrid clouds are cloud services that combine the above Public and Private clouds. The combination allows data and applications to be shared between the clouds, and is a service often used by businesses because it allows for greater flexibility in terms of access, applications and storage. 

Using these types of cloud, three prominent cloud services are offered:

  1. Infrastructure as a Service (IaaS)

Using Infrastructure as a Service, IT infrastructure is rented. Infrastructure could include servers and virtual machines, networks, storage and even operating systems.

  1. Platform as a Service (PaaS)

Platform as a Service is used to supply on-demand services for the development, management, testing and deployment of software applications. It’s primary purpose is to support developers by allowing them quick access to the necessary resources without the worry of purchasing networking infrastructure like servers.

  1. Software as a Service (SaaS)

Software as a Service is probably the most recognisable out of the three. Software as a Service allows for the delivery of software applications over the internet, which are typically on a subscription basis – like Netflix. Cloud providers host the software application and underlying maintenance, whilst users access the application from a device with an internet connection.

Looking for the best work from home applications? Look no further than our 2021 roundup.

How does Cloud Computing work?

Now we’ve broken down the types of cloud computing and the services offered, we have a better understanding of how the cloud works as a provider.

Every cloud service has a host, which is the cloud service provider. They are responsible for protecting and maintaining the multitude of data centres, which provide the computing services and storage capacities needed to relay all the information users send across the internet and into the cloud.

The hosting companies then sell the rights to access their clouds and store data in them – through subscription based models – which offers the end user a service which communicates across devices and programmes.

Their data is protected through encryption and stored off of their systems, which frees up storage space and allows for flexible on-demand access to necessary files, applications and softwares. 

Closing thoughts

At Binary Blue, we are advocates of cloud computing. We have years of experience in seeing the time and money saving benefits using cloud computing makes to a business. 

We are experts on cloud management and migration, having handled transitions to multiple platforms, managing and securing cloud systems, and implementing cloud computing capabilities. If your small business is looking to utilise the power of cloud computing, we’re ready to help you get started. Contact us today to get started.