A cloud computing system refers to the ability to store and access data and programs over the Internet. This service is generally supplied by a third party company and means that instead of having your computer hardware and software sitting on your desktop, or inside your company’s network, it can be accessed on any device and from anywhere, at anytime. The user only needs to be able to run a cloud computing system’s interface system, which could be as simple as a web browser, and the cloud computing system does the rest of the work.
Many people use cloud computing systems every day for many different tasks and maybe without even realising that they are. For example, Google Drive is a cloud computing system where you can access applications and storage space, which is all found online. Apple’s iCloud is a similar service that many individuals would be familiar with that allows the user to use online storage, synchronise their email, contacts, personal calendars and more.
Cloud computing services
Depending on your needs, there are three models of cloud computing systems, which provide different service offerings. These three models are Software-as-a-Service (SaaS), Platform-as-a-Service (PaaS), and Infrastructure-as-a-Service (IaaS).
SaaS is considered the most common of the three cloud computing models. This is provided by a company, which licenses an application to users either as a service on demand or through a subscription. SaaS gives you access to commercial software, which is managed, from a central location. It also provides you with easier administration, automatic updates, global accessibility and easier collaboration across different teams. It is recommended to use this model if you plan on using email newsletter campaign software or if you need access to web or mobile.
PaaS focuses mainly on web development needs and solutions. It allows for the creation of web applications in a quick and easy process. This means that even those who are not familiar with web development processes will be able to use it. It provides services to develop, test, host and maintain applications to optimise both user interface (UI) and user experience (UX). This model provides flexibility, adaptability, and security for its users. PaaS will be especially useful for when multiple developers will be working on a project together or where other departments will need to interact with the development process.
IaaS delivers servers, storage, network and operating systems online to users, which means there is no need for investment in hardware. This model can be provided as a private service, a public service or a combination of the two. IaaS allows for dynamic scaling so the service is available to the user, as they need it. As long as there is an Internet connection, the service can be accessed from anywhere and any location. This model may be a good choice for a business that doesn’t have the capital to invest in hardware or that will have a high demand on the infrastructure.
Benefits and risks of a cloud computing system
A cloud computing system offers many benefits for a company but of course, as with every type of service, it also has some risks associated with it that need to be weighed up and assessed before investing.
In terms of flexibility, a cloud computing system means that you are not tied to an office in order to work. Many employees can access data from servers outside the office, which creates a more flexible and mobile work life for organisations. The service has a low barrier of entry and the pay-per-use model offers versatility. Therefore, making it scalable for large corporations and affordable for smaller ones. Along with that, it provides security and disaster recovery services. So, if hardware is either damaged or lost data can still be accessed online.
The most basic drawback of cloud computing is that you need access to an Internet connection which can be prone to outages and service interruptions at any time. Also due to the size of cloud environments, your data may also be at risk of being hacked or targeted so ensure that your provider has a security system in place if this were ever to happen.
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