You hear a lot about “the cloud,” aka cloud computing. But what is cloud computing exactly? You might think of it as something techies use that doesn’t concern you.
As long as you can use your computer or device to check e-mail, store files, etc., what does it matter? It does matter, though. Most e-mail and file storage applications today use cloud computing.
Think about Google Drive and Dropbox. Yup, they’re “on the cloud.” And what’s the biggest cloud provider in 2021? Amazon, of course. This article will discuss cloud computing, why you need it, and how you already use it.
What Is Cloud Computing?
The “cloud” refers to the internet itself since it’s about using, sharing, and storing information and services not installed on your home or office computer or your smartphone. Instead, you rent and share access to them.
Almost any service that doesn’t require your physical proximity to the computer hardware is now available through cloud providers like Amazon, Google, Microsoft, Apple, and many others you probably haven’t heard of.
How Cloud Computing Works
How cloud computing works depends on your operation’s size (e.g., one person working alone from home vs. a large corporation). It also depends on factors like your budget, planned uses, and data storage needs.
Users can select from a few different cloud configurations. These include:
- Software-as-a-Service (SaaS), where the business can subscribe to any existing application that’s accessible over the internet
- Platform-as-a-Service (PaaS), where a business designs its own software to accommodate the range of uses in the company
- Infrastructure-as-a-Service (IaaS), where humongous companies like Amazon, Microsoft, and Google have backbones to “rent out” to smaller entities
Time will tell what other cloud computing configurations lie on the horizon.
Why Use Cloud Computing?
In the near future, the question likely won’t be “why use cloud computing?” It will be “Use” cloud computing!” since that will be the only viable option for most people.
The following are some of the “pros” of cloud computing.
Buying software “in bulk” is the default with cloud computing. IT staffing costs will drop. And software maintenance and upgrades are often rolled into your subscription.
A cloud host’s full-time job is to monitor security carefully. This monitoring is much more efficient than the typical in-house system. With the latter, an organization spreads its efforts among several IT functions, security being just one.
Moreover, while most dread the possibility of internal data theft, employees commit a shocking number of data thefts. With this being the case, it can be a lot safer (and less stressful) to keep sensitive information offsite.
Do you remember the floppy disks and CDs we used when installing new or updated software on office or home computers? If you do, you must cringe at the thought of how much plastic and other materials went into landfills at the time.
Elasticity and Scalability
Elasticity and scalability are both among the pros of cloud computing. They are related but not the same. Elasticity has to do with matching allocated resources with the actual amount needed at any given point.
Scalability is about handling applications’ changing needs within the infrastructure by statically adding or removing resources to match demand. Learn about cloud elasticity vs cloud scalability.
Keep Your Head in the Cloud
Is cloud computing worth it? Many folks out there believe it is. The more people who have access to cloud computing and use it regularly, the more its uses and user numbers will continue to expand.
What is cloud computing in 2021, and what will it be in ten or twenty years? There’s really no way to tell. Keep your eyes on our business articles, though. You’re sure to find some related stories with more information on the cloud.