Switching to the cloud allows organisations of all different types and sizes to add greater speed, innovation and agility to their projects. The cloud computing revolution has been swift and impactful, reshaping the way we work, communicate and collaborate — those that don’t use it risk losing their competitive edge.
Still, there are those leaders that remain hesitant about committing to cloud computing solutions for their organisations. With that in mind, we’re going to break down exactly why cloud computing is so beneficial to all different types of projects.
What is cloud computing?
Cloud computing is the on-demand delivery of IT resources, hardware, storage, databases, networking and software to businesses and individuals over the internet (usually with pay-as-you-go pricing). Basically, if you’re doing something that doesn’t use locally stored information or software, you’re using cloud computing.
In general, there are three main uses for cloud computing: Platform as a Service, Infrastructure as a Service and Software as a Service.
Infrastructure as a Service
One of the simpler types of cloud computing, Infrastructure as a Service (IaaS) focuses on server space, storage and networking. They’re highly scalable and can be tailored to your business’ needs. To put it simply, you’re renting out the infrastructure and can then purchase and install resources as and when you need them.
Platform as a Service
Similar to IaaS, Platform as a Service (PaaS) provides the infrastructure that you need to use cloud computing. The main difference is that with PaaS, you also have access to development tools, data management systems and more. Essentially, PaaS is designed to give you what you need to build, test, deploy, manage and even update easily. It does this while removing the need to purchase and manage software and licences.
Software as a Service
Software as a Service is the most comprehensive cloud computing type out of the three. SaaS provides everything you need to get your business up and running. This includes things such as servers, storage and developmental tools, similar to IaaS and PaaS. The biggest difference is that SaaS also provides access to web-based applications and software. An example of this would be Office 365. It provides you with email, calendaring tools and productivity software. This removes the need for you to manage your programs locally and keep on top of software updates.
The advantages of cloud computing
As with most technologies, cloud computing has grown and improved over the years. Although it’s been around for a while, more and more businesses are starting to increase their usage of it. Since the pandemic, it’s safe to say that some of this increase in usage is due to the need to adapt to remote and hybrid working models. Many small businesses (and some bigger ones) are realising just how much they can benefit from it. Of course, these benefits will vary depending on which type of cloud computing you opt for. Typically, it can help in a number of ways:
Cloud computing servers can be whipped up in a matter of seconds, which is a nifty tool for developers, so they can quickly and easily test new ideas and design application architecture, allowing for more product innovation.
Cloud computing gives your business more flexibility. You can quickly scale up resources and storage to meet business demands without having to invest in physical infrastructure.
Unlimited storage capacity
The cloud, for all intents and purposes, has an unlimited capacity to store data. But beware, the cost of storage goes up in line with the levels and availability of the data, performance and access frequency.
Because everything is stored in the cloud, you don't need to pay for, build or maintain any physical IT infrastructure, which means you can start and stop whenever you want, simply pressing a few buttons.
Cloud services are also normally managed and maintained by a third-party service provider. This allows IT teams to rapidly adjust power and storage without having to pay upfront infrastructure costs or set up and manage yet more systems and applications.
The beauty of cloud computing is that you can access your data and application from wherever and whenever you want, as long as you have an internet connection. Think of it like checking your email, everything’s stored for you on the internet, and as long as you’re connected, you can access it instantaneously.
Whatever cloud service model you choose, you only pay for the resources you actually use. That’s right, you’ll never have to worry about overbuilding or over provisioning your server.
Contrary to widespread beliefs, cloud computing can have better security than other types of servers. We’re able to provide a vast array of security features, including automatic backups and centralised management.
Data loss prevention
We’ve all been there. You’ve been working on a project for two hours. Suddenly, disaster strikes, and you lose your data with no backup at hand. Thankfully, cloud providers offer backup and disaster recovery features. Storing data on the cloud guarantees that data is always available. Because there’s no physical infrastructure involved, your data can never be harmed. As long as you upload your data onto the cloud, it remains accessible from any computer with an internet connection.
There’s also the added peace of mind with cloud-based services, as they provide quick data recovery in other emergency situations such as natural disasters or power outages.
Things to bear in mind...
Cloud computing has many advantages, and for most businesses it’s the logical way forward. However, one important thing to remember is that it requires a reliable connection to the internet. This may seem obvious, but if you don’t have access to a good internet connection that is regular and reliable, moving completely over to the cloud may not be the wisest decision.
Another thing that you should bear in mind is what you need to use it for. Those who depend on resource-intensive applications that require performance-heavy computers may find that cloud computing doesn’t work for them on every level. If you use a lot of Adobe software or rendering programs, you may need to consider an alternative. Of course, this doesn’t mean that you can’t use the cloud for your other business needs. Remember, it’s completely flexible to your requirements!