Cloud Computing: The Basics

The cloud provides your business with scalable resources at no cost, and the rapid ability to expand and innovate. You can access your IT resources and data from a mobile device and on-premises devices, all while avoiding the costs and complexity of maintaining and managing the underlying hardware and software. Your data remains private, security is improved, and your IT resources and systems are always available.

A cloud computing infrastructure is a collection of hosting resources that allow you to host software, databases, applications, data, and more—all through the Internet. IT capabilities Hosting a variety of on-premises systems in the cloud allows you to scale up and down quickly when needed.

What is cloud computing?

Cloud computing is the delivery of computing services—including servers, storage, databases, networking, software, analytics, and intelligence—over the Internet (“the cloud”) to offer faster innovation, flexible resources, and economies of scale. The cloud provides enterprises the benefits of on-demand resources at scale, without having to spend resources on managing servers and IT infrastructure onsite.

This makes it easier for a firm to react quickly to business needs and experiment with new business models. Cloud computing also facilitates the rapid provisioning and scaling of computing resources (e.g., server resources, databases, applications, data, storage, cloud computing appliances).

Why use the cloud?

The Internet is quickly becoming the platform for all business services and transactions, and the foundation for the interconnected world we live in today. For businesses, the Internet is also becoming the platform for nearly all data, storage, access, and other resources.

These services are moving from a standalone world to one where data can be provided by the business and stored on a server or another type of distributed system. This makes them accessible from many different locations, giving the business the ability to act locally and move resources to wherever they are needed. Why is cloud computing a great option for your business?

How much does it cost?

Historically, cloud computing has been a freemium model, with most of the cost of the infrastructure hosted by the provider. As services have become more sophisticated, vendors and partners have introduced pay-as-you-go and pay-per-use models, which are inherently more expensive.

For instance, Amazon Web Services (AWS) charges each user based on the number of computational resources that are consumed. AWS’ annual price for this model is $300 per month for 100 GB of computing resources and $60 for each additional 100 GB of computing resources, giving users the flexibility to customize how much compute they use. Can I Host My Own Environment? When cloud computing first became popular, it was very easy to set up an on-premises cloud environment and scale up and down as needed.

Cloud Types

The most common cloud environments are network-as-a-service (NaaS), software-as-a-service (SaaS), and platform-as-a-service (PaaS).

A small number of clouds are also optimized for various aspects of public and private clouds, such as dedicated cloud, hybrid cloud, and mission-critical cloud.

How do you know if you are in the cloud?

The answer is, you are in the cloud if the services you use in your organization—internal or external to your organization—have moved into the cloud. In fact, many organizations report “inside the cloud” in lieu of “in the cloud.” They are cloud-enabled but don’t use the cloud yet. Or they are “running in the cloud” because they have a single instance of something that they use to run their applications.

Public Clouds

Here, computing resources are owned and administered by third parties, not the host company. They can include a wide range of services, but the major types are Infrastructure as a Service (IaaS), Platform as a Service (PaaS), Software as a Service (SaaS), and Hosted Software as a Service (PaaS).

Generally, if an organization is in need of cloud computing services, they will be in the Public Cloud; if not, they will be in a Private Cloud. Private Clouds Unlike the Public Cloud, Private Clouds offer enterprises and government agencies their own infrastructure to create a more secure environment for their data. This can be achieved by providing dedicated hardware, software, and IT services.

Private Clouds

Cloud computing can support public clouds for software companies and public cloud for corporate IT environments; all can be scaled up and down as necessary to suit client needs and resource conditions. They have also enabled the IT industry to share software components and system resources.

However, no single type of cloud technology is used in every instance. Instead, they fall into one of four categories:

Public clouds – such as Amazon Web Services (AWS), Rackspace, and Microsoft Azure, in which the resources are rented rather than purchased and it is common to share the resources or they are in remote data centers controlled by a single organization, such as the city of Santa Cruz, CA, the U.S. Department of Defense, or the public utility Con, Ed.

Security Concerns with the Cloud

Cloud computing could make your small business’s information vulnerable to attacks and leaks. While there are some cloud providers that offer comprehensive security measures, in reality, it is not possible to fully safeguard all your customer information stored on any cloud provider’s website.

If your business relies on cloud-based resources, it is best practice to review your own information-sharing practices and limit your data transfer and retention. Google is at the forefront of cloud computing. They designed and created a tool that runs on Google’s cloud infrastructure called App Engine. The software allows developers to easily launch powerful web applications using Java, Ruby, Python, PHP, and HTML.

The Future of Cloud Computing

Cloud computing is continuing to evolve. To make a new year of work easier, leaders are looking to the cloud to modernize the way their business operates.

Here are a few of the top developments to look for in 2015:

Rapid adoption: We’ve seen a wave of organizations adopt cloud computing, including higher education, federal agencies, utility companies, health care, manufacturing, and telecommunications. In 2014, IHS reported that the rate of cloud adoption among these organizations is accelerating.

We’ve seen a wave of organizations adopt cloud computing, including higher education, federal agencies, utility companies, health care, manufacturing, and telecommunications. In 2014, IHS reported that the rate of cloud adoption among these organizations is accelerating.


With so many factors, in theory, to consider in selecting an organization for cloud computing, it can be a daunting task.

In reality, there are ways to make the decision more meaningful and help you get the most from your cloud computing investment. By applying a few simple principles, you will be able to get the most out of your cloud computing investment.

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