Cloud computing allows companies to use online services and share computing resources. Storing and processing data online at third party data centers and networking on the web via a cloud can cut costs in the office and remove some of the daily hassles of running a business. Users can access data from any browser and connect from anywhere, and business owners can pay for only those services their businesses need at the time with a high degree of variability.
Types of Cloud Computing Services are grouped into three categories: Infrastructure as a Service (Iaas), Platform as a Service (PaaS), and Software as a Service (SaaS) in order to better provide for the needs of business owners without requiring the purchase of services that your company does not need. The model of cloud computing that you choose will depend on what kind of business you run and what state of development the projects your company is working on, but the various models of cloud computing can be helpful from the design phase all the way through user access to completed projects.
IaaS: Infrastructure as a Service
Utilizing the basic networking, storage, and operational services offered by IaaS providers can help you manage and store files without the need for maintaining your own in-house servers, freeing up time and money to focus on the more important aspects of running your business. Services offered under this category come in the form of virtual hardware, including operating systems and servers as well as firewalls, IP addresses, and both raw block and file storage. Because these services are provided on demand, you can pay for only what your company needs, with the price reflecting the actual amount of resources you are using. Any company requiring file storage or networking between coworkers can benefit from using IaaS.
PaaS: Platform as a Service
This cloud service allows multiple users from remote locations to collaborate on a single project. It is particularly useful for companies engaged in designing and building applications for the web. The cloud provider takes care of developing the necessary toolkits and maintaining channels of distribution and payments, freeing up developers to focus on the creation of their unique products. This allows business owners to avoid the cost and logistical complications of purchasing and running on-site hardware and software. Like IaaS, PaaS allows users to cut costs by paying for only what they need, and allows users to configure custom settings for the app hosting environment.
PaaS was developed after a public model, but eventually expanded to offer private and hybrid options as well. Instead of being downloaded and run on a public cloud, private and hybrid PaaS systems are installed on-premises at your place of business. For most companies, this is unnecessary.
SaaS: Software as a Service
In this model of cloud computing, the service provider licenses centrally hosted applications to a user's customers upon demand or via subscription. The user gets access to software and databases, while the provider manages the infrastructure and app platforms. Access to services and licensed applications is usually priced on demand, or occasionally by subscription. SaaS users control neither the infrastructure nor the platform on which their apps are being hosted. This simplifies maintenance and reduces IT costs, as all support is outsourced to the provider. Plus central hosting allows updates to be released without the hassle of users installing new software with each update. It can be quite useful for building ad revenue as well as providing users paid access to completed apps.
Companies of all sorts have found use for SaaS services in areas as diverse as delivering applications for payroll and human resources management, enterprise resource planning, talent acquisition, and antivirus software. It is a useful tool across a diverse field, as companies in any industry require access to at least a few basic computer applications in the day to day management of their business.
Although the potential for cutting labor, management, and IT costs is great, there are limitations to cloud computing. Limited options for customization across all three models can be a deal breaker for companies requiring extremely specialized development tools or other uncommon features. That being said, cloud computing development is still in its nascent phase, and with more diverse businesses and industries adopting its use as a means of working more efficiently and cutting unnecessary business costs, the technology is always continuing to improve. If your looking to choose a cloud computing company, then hopefully this guide has helped you understand the industry as a whole.