Cloud computing is all about storing, retrieving, and sharing information securely, no matter where you are. It takes the heavy lifting of crunching and processing data away from devices you carry around or sit and work at, and moves it to huge computer clusters that are far out in cyberspace. You connect to these clusters via the Internet and voila, you can work as if you were at your desk or office. It also offers cost savings. Businesses can save money by not needing to buy and construct their own IT infrastructure or purchase expensive hardware. Instead, they can pay for cloud services on a subscription basis and easily scale them up or down as needed. This model shifts the expense of IT infrastructure from capital expenditure (capex) to operating expenses (opex). There are three types of cloud services: software as a service (SaaS), platform as a service (PaaS), and infrastructure as a service (IaaS).
SaaS is an application delivery model in which the vendor hosts the customer’s applications at its own location. The customers access the applications over the Internet. SaaS eliminates the need to buy and install software licenses or upgrade outdated software, since updates are performed by the provider automatically on a device-by-device basis. Additionally, older software versions can be stored in the cloud for backup and recovery purposes. PaaS gives users the building blocks to create apps, such as servers, code libraries, programming environments, and preconfigured app components.
The vendor handles back-end concerns like security, infrastructure, and data integration, which frees up the user to focus on creating their own software. PaaS enables developers to build, host, and test apps faster than ever before. With IaaS, the vendor provides a virtual machine environment on which the customer can run any operating system and any application. It allows enterprises to scale their computing resources quickly and efficiently, without the need to invest in additional hardware or install upgrades. Additionally, it allows companies to store and access data from any location, and on any device connected to the Internet.
The ability to work anytime, anywhere, on any device, makes for a more productive and satisfied workforce. In addition to enabling employees to collaborate and communicate across locations, it allows staff who travel, freelance or work remotely to stay instantly up-to-date with work and clients, which can improve their job satisfaction. This is especially beneficial for sales staff that frequently visit customers or client sites, or employees who need to be on the road. Moreover, cloud-based solutions can be used on personal mobile devices for ease of use during work-from-home situations such as a pandemic or natural disaster.