"The cloud" and cloud computing are the hot business topics of our times, and growing numbers of companies are joining the many millions of enterprises already operating in this new digital way. They're doing away with their own IT infrastructure and entrusting everything to cloud providers with hardware and software that may be far away, even in another country or distant continent.
Companies are making the move to the cloud because there are clear cost, efficiency, backup, storage and other benefits compared to keeping everything in-house. But getting to grips with this technology and what it can do for your business is not always easy, as the term itself covers an array of systems and services. Unless you're an IT professional, it can be difficult to work out what types are best suited to your company or organisation and what it can do for you. So what is the cloud?
What Is Cloud Computing and What Is the Cloud?
We can trace the origin of cloud computing back to the development of the early internet in the 1960s in the United States and the military's funding of ARPANET — an inter-computer network that used the packet-switching TCP/IP protocol that's still in use today. Although cloud computing was not born at this stage, ARPANET developers foresaw that the emerging technology might one day allow programs and files to be based on servers from which people in remote locations could access and use them.
The idea began to take shape among various tech firms in the US in the 1990s, and it was search giant Google that, in 2006, declared the notion a "big opportunity" and forged ahead with developing its own cloud services. From there, cloud computing has exploded, with many big tech firms developing cloud-computing solutions and offering them to companies of all sizes around the world.
How Does the Cloud Work and What Is Cloud Technology?
The cloud is a series of data centres with large amounts of physical servers that are subdivided by software into virtual servers. This allows companies and organisations to use them for their digital operations by placing their programs, apps and files on the servers and accessing them via the internet. If you're wondering what cloud hosting is, that’s your answer, and it includes running your website from the cloud too.
This is Microsoft's Azure cloud-computing network, with data centres in different countries:
As for cloud technology, there are three general types:
- SaaS (Software as a Service)
- IaaS (Infrastructure as a Service)
- PaaS (Platform as a Service)
Which one is best for your company depends on what you want to do. Do you intend, for instance, to run apps and programs from the cloud, or are you looking for hardware and software solutions, third-party software that you can use or do you just want to store your data on the cloud?
Not sure which cloud-technology service is best for your company or organisation? Contact the cloud computing experts at ITRM today, and get a free consultation.
What Are Cloud Services?
Today, the evolution of cloud computing means there are more services than ever that businesses can tap into to scale, grow and become more efficient and more profitable. They include everything from using cloud-based email, documents and spreadsheets that staff can collaborate on in real-time no matter where in the world they are, to storage and the best cloud backup services for business. So you never have to worry about losing your valuable data.
Along with increased productivity, flexibility and efficiency, the advantages of cloud computing are that it helps to drive down costs because you're using part of a remote IT infrastructure and don't have to build your own or employ costly IT staff to run it. It all adds up to a big win for businesses.