“It’s in the cloud” is a common phrase you hear these days, often from people who aren’t quite sure what they are talking about. The term “cloud” is nebulous, pun intended, but it helps people imagine and discuss the direction IT infrastructure and resources are heading without getting into the technical details.
In this article, we take a deeper look at the details of cloud computing technology, who uses it, the benefits and challenges of adopting it, and how it is more than just one thing. Let’s start with a broad definition of cloud computing, and by the end of our discussion, you’ll know what people mean when they talk about the cloud. You also see how you can upskill to become a cloud computing professional.
What Is Cloud Computing?
Cloud computing delivers computing services over the internet, including server capacity, storage, databases, networking, software, and analytics. It’s a way to access data and applications from anywhere with an internet connection rather than relying on local devices or servers in your corporate data center.
In more casual terms, you can think of cloud computing as renting computer power and storage space on the internet rather than buying and maintaining your own equipment. This can save a lot of money and hassle for businesses and individuals who need computing power but don’t want to deal with the maintenance and infrastructure themselves.
Cloud computing is a rapidly growing field that is changing how we work and do business. It offers many benefits, including scalability, flexibility, and cost savings. Plus, it can be used for various purposes, from hosting websites and running applications to analyzing data and storing files.
Let’s look at some benefits of adopting cloud computing technology in greater detail.
Benefits of Cloud Technology
For many reasons, an overwhelming 94 percent of companies use some form of cloud computing technology. Here are some benefits of using cloud services and why it is the first choice for many businesses:
- Scalability: Cloud computing allows businesses to quickly scale their computing resources up or down as needed without investing in expensive hardware or infrastructure. This means you can easily meet changing business needs and handle spikes in traffic without downtime.
- Cost savings: Cloud computing eliminates the need to purchase and maintain costly hardware and software, making it a cost-effective solution for businesses of all sizes. You pay for only what you use, often avoiding the upfront costs of purchasing and maintaining your hardware.
- Accessibility: Cloud-based technologies enable employees to access business data and applications from anywhere with an internet connection, making it easier to work remotely and collaborate with others. This is especially useful for distributed teams or businesses serving multiple locations.
- Flexibility: Cloud computing technology provides a flexible environment that can be customized to the specific needs of each business. You can choose the resources you need and configure them to work together, creating a unique solution that fits your business requirements.
- Security: Cloud providers have robust security measures in place to protect the data and applications they host. This can include data encryption, firewalls, and other security features that may be difficult or costly to implement on your own.
What Is Cloud Technology: The Challenges
Every technology comes with challenges. While the benefits of adopting cloud-based technologies far outweigh their challenges, it is important to know what they are so you can manage them effectively. Here are some of the ways using cloud computing services can be challenging:
- Security risks: Although cloud providers often have robust security measures in place, storing data and applications on a third-party server can introduce new security risks. Businesses must ensure that their data and applications are protected from unauthorized access and breaches and that their IT staff has the necessary skills to manage cloud-native cybersecurity solutions that are guaranteed by service-level agreements (SLAs)..
- Compliance requirements: Depending on the industry and location, businesses may be subject to specific compliance requirements that affect their ability to use cloud technology. It’s important to ensure that cloud providers comply with relevant industry regulations, such as data privacy laws like HIPAA or PCI, to avoid potential legal or financial penalties.
- Dependence on internet connectivity: Cloud technology relies on a stable and fast internet connection. Any disruption in connectivity can impact business operations and make it difficult to access critical data and applications.
- Integration challenges: Migrating to the cloud can be complex, especially for businesses with legacy systems and applications. Ensuring that all systems and applications work together seamlessly in the cloud can be challenging and may require additional resources and expertise.
- Vendor lock-in: Some cloud providers may make switching to another provider or bringing applications and data back to your in-house model difficult. Businesses must carefully consider their options and ensure they can switch providers or regain control of their data and applications if needed.
Who Uses Cloud Technology?
Cloud technology has become a large part of the modern technology landscape, with a wide range of individuals and organizations leveraging its benefits. Small and medium-sized businesses (SMBs) can use cloud computing technology to help them compete with larger businesses by using the scalability, cost savings, and accessibility it provides to bring products to market more quickly. It also enables them to meet changing business needs and handle traffic spikes without buying new hardware or infrastructure.
Large enterprises also use cloud technology to increase efficiency, lower costs, and make collaboration easier across multiple teams and locations. The flexibility of cloud-based systems makes them a popular choice for startups as well, allowing fast development and deployment of new applications and services without the need for extensive infrastructure and extra IT staff to support them.
Developers rely on cloud technology as a scalable and cost-effective platform for building, testing, and deploying applications. Government agencies, educational institutions, and nonprofit organizations use cloud computing services because they help streamline their IT operations and make them more cost-effective.
Whether it’s to reduce costs, increase efficiency, or facilitate innovation and collaboration, cloud technology offers various advantages that continue to drive its adoption across industries. That’s why skilled cloud professionals are in high demand.
Also Read: Virtualization in Cloud Computing
Types of Cloud Computing Technology: Examples
Cloud computing is often categorized into three main types of services: Infrastructure as a Service (IaaS), Platform as a Service (PaaS), and Software as a Service (SaaS). While more cloud-based technologies are being added, let’s look at these three and some examples of the popular cloud services and applications that fall into each category.
Infrastructure as a Service (IaaS)
IaaS provides virtualized computing resources, such as virtual machines, storage, and networking, over the internet. With IaaS, organizations can rent and access infrastructure on a pay-per-use basis without investing in expensive hardware or data center facilities. IaaS can host a wide range of applications and services and offers high flexibility and scalability.
Here are a few examples of IaaS providers:
- Amazon Web Services (AWS): One of the largest IaaS providers in the world, AWS offers a wide range of cloud computing services, including EC2 virtual machines, S3 storage, and VPC networking.
- Microsoft Azure: Another major IaaS provider, Azure has a selection of virtual machines, storage, and networking services that businesses and individuals can use to build and deploy applications.
- Google Cloud Platform (GCP): GCP has many types of IaaS services from which to choose, including Compute Engine virtual machines, Cloud Storage, and Cloud Networking.
Platform as a Service (PaaS)
While IaaS provides the infrastructure on which a business runs, PaaS is a cloud computing technology that gives businesses a platform for building, testing, and deploying applications they can access from the cloud. Rather than constructing all this tooling in-house before they can even begin the development stage, developers can access pre-built application components, tools, and frameworks to build and deploy custom applications much more quickly. PaaS allows developers to focus more on their task of developing software and less on all the steps that come before it.
Here are some examples of PaaS providers:
- Heroku: A popular PaaS provider, Heroku offers a platform for building and deploying web applications using popular programming languages such as Ruby, Node.js, and Python.
- Google App Engine: App Engine is a PaaS platform that enables developers to build and deploy web apps more quickly in various programming languages.
- Microsoft Azure App Service: Azure App Service allows developers to build and deploy web, mobile, and API applications using a variety of programming languages and frameworks.
Software as a Service (SaaS)
SaaS takes the efficiency of using cloud services one step further by providing complete software applications over the internet. Your company can pay for this software on a subscription or pay-per-use basis without the extra work and cost of installing, managing, and maintaining the software on its own systems. A variety of tools businesses use daily are available through SaaS providers.
Here are some SaaS providers whom you may have heard of:
- Salesforce: A popular SaaS provider, Salesforce offers a suite of cloud-based technologies and applications for customer relationship management (CRM), marketing automation, and more.
- Microsoft Office 365: Office 365 is a suite of cloud applications that include well-known Microsoft tools like Word, Excel, PowerPoint, and Outlook.
- Dropbox: Dropbox is a file storage and collaboration platform that allows users to store, share, and access files from anywhere.
The Cloud Takeaway: Your Silver Lining
While cloud computing technology and services have only been around for a few decades, it has become the preferred choice for organizations of all sizes and individuals for their IT infrastructure, application development, and software needs.
Adopting cloud computing comes with some challenges, but like any new technology, the benefits of cloud-based technologies far outweigh them. It saves businesses money, makes their services scalable, and allows them to build applications more quickly.
The bottom line is that cloud computing usage will only continue to grow, and so will the demand for cloud architecture and development experts. Considering there is already a shortage of cloud-skill developers, becoming a cloud professional is a great career choice with a bright future. Start your journey toward that future in as little as six months with cloud computing training. In this comprehensive bootcamp, you will learn from experts in live online classes, work on real-world projects in integrated labs, demonstrate your new skills through industry-based capstone projects, and much more. Get started now!