Today, digital transformation is becoming a priority for enterprises, big and small. In this context, cloud computing emerges as the fundamental technology that fuels this change. In fact, it can be said that digital transformation and the cloud go hand in hand. A proper understanding of the cloud, thus, becomes essential for businesses looking to embark on this exciting journey that is sure to take them to the next level.
The Cloud is a broad term that symbolizes the internet. In the technological context, cloud computing refers to the delivery of dynamic IT resources and services to an organization's devices through the internet. The cloud services encompass a combination of servers, applications, and storage, designed according to the individual requirements of an organization. These services are provided by a service provider who is responsible for managing and maintaining the cloud infrastructure. In return, the provider charges the customer on a “pay-per-use” basis. The cloud service can be described as renting the IT capacity instead of directly investing in it.
Cloud computing is very different from storing the information on a system or a server. The entire data is stored on the internet and can be accessed anywhere with any compatible device. The information stored can be diverse, from business files to databases, tools, and applications such as CRM and accounting applications, and more. Anyone who has proper credentials can get the data and information from any location. Cloud computing technology connects a multitude of devices and synchronizes data for them to keep them all updated with real-time information.
When an enterprise makes a transition to the Cloud, there are a few things that it needs to consider. These include the IT requirements, data accessibility, and security options. Accordingly, it can choose one of the following cloud computing types for the business:
Private Cloud: A private cloud model is built within the enterprise, using its own infrastructure and is to be managed by the enterprise itself. Private cloud is ideal for organizations with high-security needs as they have complete control over the cloud. The high-security requirement makes it an expensive option.
Public Cloud: A public cloud, on the other hand, runs on an external platform offered by a service provider. The enterprise gets a share of the resources on the common infrastructure, which is maintained by the cloud service provider. This model is cost effective as compared to the private cloud but lacks in security.
Hybrid Cloud: A hybrid cloud type brings together the best of the public and private models to cater a solution that matches an enterprise's requirements. A part of the enterprise data is put on the public cloud while the more sensitive, confidential information is secured in a private cloud that is managed in-house.
Community Cloud: A less extensively used cloud computing type is Community Cloud, which has several organizations sharing an access to a common private cloud. This model serves franchise businesses where each of the franchises runs of public clouds. At the same time, they are all remotely hosted together in a private environment.
Cloud computing services can be availed in three different models or a combination of these:
Software as a Service (SaaS): The SaaS model provides a complete internet-hosted software application for the user. The service provider looks after the configuration settings, updates, and maintenance of the application.
Infrastructure as a Service (IaaS): IaaS, as suggested by its name, is the renting of IT infrastructure over the internet. The infrastructure could include storage, server, or hosting and the user pays for the resources he uses.
Platform as a Service (PaaS): The PaaS model is a crossover of the other two, with the user availing the entire platform comprising of storage, network, and operating system and running his business applications on them.
The transition from the conventional in-house tech setup to the cloud brings a range of unmatched benefits for a business. It drives the business growth by promoting efficiency and curbing costs. Here are the ways that a business can benefit from the adoption of the cloud technology:
Flexibility: The cloud technology paves the way for unparalleled flexibility in work practices. Workforce need not be confined to their desks as they have the freedom to access the enterprise data on the go. They can connect to the virtual office on the cloud and do their job from home, while commuting, and even from the client's location.
Seamless Collaboration: Seamless collaboration between the business, employees, third parties, and clients makes another good reason to make this transition. With a cloud computing model, the business can share files and data with different people. It can even control the level of access that each person has.
Reduction In Infrastructural Costs: Another noteworthy benefit of adopting the cloud technology is that it brings down infrastructural costs to a significant extent. Businesses can save upon installation, upgrades, and maintenance of the hardware and software resources. The entire IT resources are looked after by the service provider, with the business only having to pay on the basis of their usage.
Scalability: A business operating in the cloud is able to scale easily according to its operational and storage needs as it grows in size. It does not need to invest in expensive resources and upgrades on its own. Rather, the entire responsibility can be given to the cloud service provider.
Business Continuity: The data stored in the cloud has the advantage of being protected in a safe location. It can be easily retrieved in the event of loss due to power failure, natural disaster, or crisis. As a result, the business continuity is not affected and it can resume its normal functioning with the downtime reduced to the minimum.
In addition to these tangible business benefits, the cloud serves as an eco-friendly technology too. Overall, there is a reduction in wastage of resources and carbon emission. The flexible deployment models of the cloud give it an edge too, as it can be aligned with the business requirements. What more, the technology is as beneficial for a startup or a small business as it is to a big enterprise. With such amazing benefits, this futuristic technology is poised to change the business landscape forever.