The digital cloud is global. It’s everywhere even though we rarely notice it. Your interaction with the cloud starts first thing in the morning as you check your phone for new emails. The cloud is there again when you use your phone’s maps app to check traffic conditions on the way to work. Once at work, you use the cloud whether you share a document with a colleague using file-sharing software, enter customer information into Salesforce, or onboard a new employee into your company database. When we go home, we may share photos on social media without giving it a second thought that we are consuming cloud services.
All of these are cloud services, yet we experience them in totally different ways, which raises several questions: What is a cloud service? Where is the cloud? What is the difference between the cloud and the Internet?
Let’s Break It Down
What is a cloud? It is place to store data. A cloud service is any service made available to users on demand via the Internet from a cloud provider’s servers as opposed to being provided from a company’s on-premises servers. These services are designed to offer convenient, scalable access to applications, resources, and services that are fully managed by a cloud-services provider.
Cloud Services are Dynamic and Scalable
A cloud service can dynamically scale to meet the needs of its users because the service provider supplies the hardware and software necessary. Therefore, the company using the cloud doesn’t need to provide its own resources or IT staff to manage the service.
Examples of cloud services include the following:
- Online data storage
- Backup solutions
- Web-based e-mail
- Hosted office suites
- Document collaboration
- Database processing
- Managed technical support
Today, the cloud comes in five services:
- Infrastructure as a Service (IaaS)
IaaS is a platform offering raw computing power for service providers that includes servers, file or object storage, load balancers, and network firewall. IaaS providers deliver these capabilities on demand from a large cluster of equipment stationed in data centers such as Rackspace, Dropbox, Instagram, and Pinterest.
- Backup as a Service (Baas)
BaaS is an approach to backing up data that involves purchasing backup and recovery services from an online data backup provider. BaaS connects systems to a private, public, or hybrid cloud managed by the outside provider such as Green Cloud or Datto.
- Platform as a Service (PaaS)
PaaS is a cloud environment or platform through which developers can build cloud applications. Providers of PaaS deliver a database, an operating system, and programming language execution capabilities, as well as web servers such as Microsoft Azure and Google Compute Engine.
- Software as a Service (SaaS)
SaaS is what most people think of when they hear “cloud service.” It is used via a mobile app or browser such as Slack or Salesforce.
- Private Cloud
The infrastructure (hardware), the platform, and the software all exist only for one company. The end customer runs its own data center and maintenance. This is common with specific industries with highly sensitive data that prefer to use private clouds due to a perception that they’re more secure than public clouds.
Which Type of Cloud Service is Right for You?
As a result of the increased popularity of cloud services, the industry is growing exponentially. A recent poll from the Cloud Security Alliance found that an overwhelming 64.9% of IT leaders think the cloud is as secure or more secure than on-premises software.
Is your company taking advantage of cloud services? If not, you should be. Contact us here and let our team help you put your company on the road to success.