Cloud computing plays an essential role in everyday life. Although still considered an emerging technology, it powers several IT products and services. Did you know that online banking, e-commerce, video streaming, email, and smartphone apps all depend on this innovation? On the business side, the applications include storage, CRM, infrastructure, and payment processing.
Cloud computing classifications
If you’re interested in incorporating cloud computing into your business, you’ll come across three main categories:
- Infrastructure-as-a-Service (IaaS): This service offers pay-as-you-go networking, computing, and storage resources. IaaS providers include AWS, Google Compute Engine (GCE), DigitalOcean, and Microsoft Azure.
- Platform-as-a-Service (PaaS): This model allows developers to rent all the resources they need to create applications. The cloud vendor provides the infrastructure, operating system, database management, and development tools.
- Software-as-a-Service (SaaS): Unlike in the past, when each user had to install software, a SaaS model hosts it in the cloud. The users can then subscribe to the service via a legitimate username and password. SaaS examples include Slack, Office 365, Zendesk, Salesforce, Google Workspace, and DocuSign.
Other than service categories, cloud solutions occur in three classifications, the first being a public cloud. The vendor hosts all infrastructure on their premises, then delivers the relevant services to various users.
The second type is a private cloud, which is exclusive to one organization. This secure infrastructure can either be at your company’s or the vendor’s premises. Thirdly, you can opt for a hybrid cloud solution. As the name implies, it contains aspects of public and private clouds depending on your needs.
If you deploy several instances of a cloud type from various vendors in one architecture, you’re running a multi-cloud.
What are the benefits of cloud computing?
Your business will reap the following rewards if you invest in this technology:
1. Cost savings
The switch to cloud computing has immediate cost implications. You no longer have to maintain and manage on-site servers and associated IT systems. You can also minimize or redeploy your in-house IT team. That’s because the cloud vendor offers maintenance services at lower costs.
You’ll also eliminate operating costs related to software and hardware purchases, as well as system upgrades. This convenience improves financial management since cloud providers offer fixed or predictable prices for particular packages.
2. Flexibility and scalability
Cloud computing offers almost unlimited opportunities for growing businesses. You can increase your storage needs during peak season and reduce them when business is slow. The pay-as-you-go model is a central aspect of this scalability.
Flexibility also increases productivity by enabling remote working. Multiple employees can access and collaborate on similar files. They can also sync their work across devices for easier reference. These features also power the bring your own device (BYOD) phenomenon, which reduces hardware purchase and maintenance costs.
3. Cloud computing offers better security
It’s in the cloud vendor’s best interests to provide advanced cybersecurity features to increase their clients’ trust. As cyber threats become more sophisticated, you need a cloud computing provider with the relevant resources to thwart them. One benefit is the provision of consolidated and comprehensive threat-prevention tools.
These solutions cover multiple parameters, including employees, services, connected apps, and workloads. Besides, several third-party companies offer additional security layers.
4. Competitive advantage
Cloud computing’s cost savings, robust security, fast deployment, flexibility, and scalability improve efficiency and productivity. Even as a small business, you have the relevant resources to compete with established players. Innovative startups can disrupt entire industries by utilizing cloud-powered platforms.
Because cloud vendors provide comprehensive tech solutions, you can focus on other core functions, such as marketing. The flexible pay-as-you-go model is also crucial to ensuring a positive cash flow as you solve teething problems.
5. Environmentally friendly
In their quest to provide affordable and efficient services, cloud providers also invest in environmentally friendly infrastructure. For one, their data centers are usually closer to power facilities. This convenience reduces the cost and wastage associated with transmitting energy over long distances. Overall, multiple clients using one cloud provider consume less energy than the individual on-site servers.
Large data centers are more likely to reduce their carbon emissions by using wind, solar, geothermal, and other renewable energy sources. As cloud computing efficiency improves, your business also reduces paper usage. That’s because you can create, sync, sign, edit, collaborate virtually, and share documents without needing physical copies.
6. Intuitiveness and compatibility
Cloud vendors provide intuitive dashboards with clear instructions. They also offer tutorials and live support to help you sort common issues. You don’t need advanced IT skills to set up and operate their infrastructure.
Their services are also compatible with several third-party apps that you already use comfortably. This integration improves efficiency because you don’t have to invest in training for these applications.
Cloud computing enables automatic updates to fix bugs and heighten cybersecurity. Software upgrades can also increase computer processing and server efficiency. The major cloud companies offer continuous updates to satisfy ever-increasing customer demands.
Unlike on-site servers, which suffer downtimes, cloud-powered services provide backup and 99.9% uptime. By incorporating emerging technologies such as AI, machine learning, and blockchain, they offer solutions faster than human technicians.
Cloud computing will help your startup achieve objectives such as profitability faster. Other benefits, including scalability and affordability, make it easier to manage a growing business. You also avoid wastage because you only pay for what you need. This technology enables effective service delivery in remote locations because they don’t necessarily need on-site servers. As cloud adoption grows, it makes business sense to integrate it for long-term growth.