What is cloud computing?
Cloud computing is the pay-as-you-go delivery of computing power, applications, database storage, and other IT resources through a cloud services platform via the internet. Rather than buying, owning, or maintaining physical data centres and servers, you can access technology services, such as computing power, storage, databases and other IT resources, on an as-needed basis from a cloud provider like Amazon Web Services (AWS).
Cloud computing benefits
The benefits are endless with these new types of services:
- Significant capital cost savings because you no longer need to invest in hardware up front to run your IT operations.
- Quickly scale capacity up or down depending on your computing requirements for more efficient resource utilisation.
- You can connect multiple devices wirelessly to different locations where your business needs help.
- You don’t have to worry about safety if something goes wrong because cloud service providers offer 24/7 support.
- Your business doesn’t depend on any company or network.
How does cloud computing work?
When you access cloud computing, you’re using a network of remote servers to store, manage and process data, rather than keeping all that information on your computer or mobile device. Cloud computing essentially means that you can access the needed technology from any location via the internet, so it doesn’t matter where you are or what device you’re using when needing to use cloud computing technology. Cloud computing is also not dependent on who owns the physical infrastructure (servers), which gives organisations flexibility in how they access and use cloud services.
Four types of cloud computing
Cloud computing can be classified in many ways, but the simple way to break it down is to ask: who owns the infrastructure?
- Public Cloud - A public cloud offers services to the general public over the internet. You send your data to the cloud, and it's stored on servers that anyone with an internet connection (and an account) can access. Think Gmail or Dropbox, where you can log into your account from any device and access your data.
- Private Cloud - A private cloud is like a public cloud, except that only one company has access. The data and applications are hosted on remote servers, but not shared with anyone else; they are kept secure by firewalls and are only accessible within a single organisation.
- Hybrid Cloud - A hybrid cloud uses both a private and public cloud, connecting them via secure technology that allows data and apps to move back and forth between the two environments as needed. Using this model lets organisations keep some sensitive material behind their firewall while still using other applications in a more flexible environment like the public cloud.
- Multi-Cloud - A multi-cloud strategy means using two or more types of clouds (private, public or hybrid) from different vendors at once, often for different purposes rather than as part of an overall strategy with all parts working in tandem.
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