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Making the most out of cloud computing for a business
Written by Rowan Govender
9 October 2012

The definition for cloud computing differs slightly depending on who you talk to. Generally speaking cloud computing refers to virtual servers that are pooled together to create a computing resource that you can access online. This computing resource can refer to online storage services, such as Dropbox, to other services that offer flexible computing capacity, such as Amazin EC2.

But as a business owner, why would you use a cloud service when you can provide a technical solution yourself? The answer is simple: cloud service providers offer many advantages.


Lower computing costs

Generally, investing in top-end computer hardware is expensive. You can use a cloud service that offers the computing power you need for the time that you need it. When you're done you can simply scale back or cancel the cloud service. In addition, any maintenance costs are handled by the cloud service provider since you don't handle the hardware, which further reduces cost to the company.

 


Flexible computing resources

Most companies invest in the necessary hardware for a specific project only to find that it sits idly most of the time. You can subscribe to a cloud service to provide the computing power or storage space that you need. You can increase or decrease the computing power or storage space as you need to. You can also gain access to the latest technology that's available through the cloud service provider.

 


Faster setup than traditional deployment

In the past, companies needed to order and setup new computer hardware. Firstly, the ordering process can be quite lengthy, depending on the hardware that's required. Then after you've gotten the hardware, you'll still need to set it up, which will also take time. Today you can use a cloud service and simply request that the additional computer resources be added, without the need to order and install new hardware.

 


Location independent access

The need to be able to access information from anywhere increases as companies become more global. By storing information in the cloud, employees can easily access it from any device that has internet access, such as a cellphone or laptop with a mobile internet connection.

 


Shared resources

If several companies are involved in a project together, a cloud service can be used to create a centralised location for shared data. This avoids the problem of each company allowing outsiders access to their internal networks.

So now that you've seen the various advantages that the cloud offers, what types of cloud services are there?

Cloud searh computing identifies three types of cloud service that you can use as:

 1.Infrastructure as a Service (IaaS)

IaaS is the outsourcing of your equipment needs, such as storage and servers, to a cloud service. An example of an IaaS provider is Amazin EC2.

 2. Platform as a Service (PaaS)

PaaS is the delivery of platforms, such as an operating system, over the internet without the user having to download or install the software. An example of a PaaS provider is Kaavo.

 3. Software as a Service (SaaS)

SaaS allows a user to access applications, such as a spreadsheet program, that are hosted by the cloud service provider. An example of SaaS provider is Antenna Software.

You can choose any combination of these different types of cloud services to suit your business' needs.

 

 

Picture credit: www.edudemic.com

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