The invention of Cloud computing has proved to be a blessing for the business industry. The unparalleled independence that Cloud has provided the businesses in terms of infrastructure costs and choices are unquantifiable. Businesses, especially small and medium sized businesses, which usually face the problem of monetary crunch, are the biggest beneficiary of cloud. So it is important for small business owners and start-ups to understand what Cloud computing or Cloud, as it is popularly known as, is all about.
What is Cloud?
According to Wikipedia, Cloud computing is a kind of Internet-based computing that provides shared processing resources and data to computers and other devices on demand. There are two important parts to cloud computing:
- Internet based services: Cloud services that are based on the internet and are offered to the prospective user online. Example: Google Docs
- Hardware and Datacenter: Offline cloud services that include hosting space and use of servers on-demand.
Hence, Cloud Computing refers to both the applications delivered as services over the Internet and the hardware and systems software in the datacenters that provide those services.
Services of Cloud for Business
The universal aim of every business in the world is to minimise its costs and to maximise its profits. Cloud helps a business to reduce its costs and helps a business in cutting down its expenses. Cloud computing services providers offers mainly three services to businesses as per their requirement namely:
- Infrastructure as a Service(IaaS)- The service provider provides the user with a virtual machine to work on and takes care of all the important things that are essential for running the machine like physical computing resources, location, data partitioning, scaling, security and backup which otherwise were to be handled by the user itself. The provider charges a fee for this service.
- Platform as a Service(PaaS)- This is a development environment where the user is provided with the toolkits and platform to create and test run their product without actually buying either the tools or the servers.
- Software as a Service(SaaS)- Often referred to as “On-demand software”, the service providers allow user the access to application and its databases while maintaining the infrastructure and platform that runs the application.
Importance of Cloud for your Business
Cloud in the past decade has helped plethora of businesses. It has helped them realise an unattainable dream by reducing the costs of functioning to minimum levels. It has given the businesses, the freedom to pay as you use and hence eliminated the prospects of under-provisioning or over-provisioning. Some of the characteristics of Cloud are as follows:
- COST: Cloud has enabled the business to become uber cost effective. It has allowed the user to avoid building up separate infrastructure for each business and ultimately cut cost of functioning. It also eliminates the cost involved in maintaining those infrastructures hence further strengthening a business’s monetary position.
- INDEPENDENCE: Cloud computing gives business the much needed independence of working from location and at any time. It also allows the business to pay as they use hence giving them independence on choosing the volume provisions they need.
- SECURITY: With centralized working, the Cloud enables the business the security of backing up all the data on its servers and provides the additional layer of security to its working.
- EFFICIANCY: With the facility of pay as you use, business is no longer compelled to provision its infrastructure for more than what is required which brings efficiency to the organisation. It also helps in keeping a tab of all the work that an employee is doing as all the work can be monitored on the centralised working environment.
To conclude, let me quote a report from the University College of Berkeley on a research done on Cloud computing:
“Cloud Computing, the long-held dream of computing as a utility, has the potential to transform a large part of the IT industry, making software even more attractive as a service and shaping the way IT hardware is designed and purchased. Developers with innovative ideas for new Internet services no longer require the large capital outlays in hardware to deploy their service or the human expense to operate it”.
Above the Clouds