Although cloud computing has been around for some time now and people will have undoubtedly heard the term, not everyone has a clear idea of what it actually means. So, if you want to move to the Cloud, how does it work?

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    Throughout the digital age, there have been many advancements. Technologies have come and gone, while others have evolved and proved to be invaluable for a wide range of purposes. The Cloud is a perfect example of the latter, as it has provided the platform for intelligent and secure storage — among other things — which can be utilised for everyday purposes as well as throughout the modern business world.

    In this post, you'll find a quick yet comprehensive guide to the workings of the Cloud and realise a few of the benefits it offers.

    What Is the Cloud?

    The "cloud" is a collection of networked hardware that works in sync to provide multiple aspects of computing via online services. You can't physically touch the hardware itself in the public Cloud, but you control it remotely via web interfaces.

    Virtualisation is one of the critical features of the Cloud. Virtual machines are created with software that divides the memory, storage and power of a device into several smaller units — each of which run their own operating system. The virtualisation of the Cloud provides a more flexible and efficient way to allocate resources as and when they are needed.

    The Three Cloud Models

    SaaS

    Software as a service (SaaS) is a way to deliver on-demand software applications over the internet, usually on a subscription basis. With SaaS, cloud providers host and manage your applications and infrastructure, as well as take care of any essential maintenance — such as software updates and security patching. Users can connect to the various applications via the internet on their phone, computer or tablet.

    IaaS

    Infrastructure as a Service (IaaS) cloud services allows you to rent IT infrastructure — networks, storage servers and virtual machines (VMs), and operating systems. This model is usually provided on a pay-as-you-go basis, but it may not always be the case.

    PaaS

    Platform as a Service (PaaS) services supply on-demand environments to develop, deliver, test and manage software applications. For developers, PaaS makes it easier to create web or mobile apps quicker, without having to set up and manage the underlying infrastructures of servers, databases, storage, and networks essential for development.

    Cloud Storage vs Cloud Computing

    Cloud storage involves gathering data on hardware in a remote physical location, which can then be accessed from devices via the internet. Your files go to data servers maintained by a cloud provider, instead of (or as well as) being stored on your hard drive. Cloud storage systems generally incorporate hundreds of data servers linked by a master control server, but other simple systems may involve a single server.

    Cloud computing also involves connecting to a remote infrastructure via a network, but this time, the infrastructure includes shared software, processing power and other resources. This means users won't have to continually update and maintain their software and systems themselves, while also allowing them to utilise the processing power of a vast network. Popular and widely-used services powered by cloud computing include social networks like Facebook, online banking apps and webmail clients like Gmail.

    How Secure Is the Cloud?

    Although some people may be wary of the Cloud — as you are essentially storing your data in an unknown location — the truth is that cloud computing and storage is a highly-secure and efficient form of technology. The remote nature of the Cloud avoids security breaches of a physical nature — as well as the human error risks involved with conventional storage. Cloud providers are also always working hard to ensure their infrastructures are as secure and responsive as possible.

    If your computer or device is stolen or damaged, all you have to do is log onto the Cloud and you can download your files at a moment's notice. Having a secure and easily accessible backup of all your files is crucial following a cyber attack or any other breach where data may be lost. Loss of data can cost you time, money and damage to reputation. Fortunately, the Cloud gives you the peace of mind, knowing your files are safe and sound.

    Do you want to know more about the Cloud and how it can help your business? Get in touch today to discuss your needs with one of our managed IT specialists. 

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