What is the ‘Cloud’ that I’ve been hearing about?
The word ‘Cloud’ is used as a general term to represent a segment of IT services utilizing the many large data centers we send information to, store information in, and receive information from. These data centers provide the infrastructure for IT Cloud Services and are located in many different buildings, in many different locations throughout the world. The buildings are filled with networks of servers, miles of fiber-optic IT Network Cabling, and staffed with software engineers that provide IT Network Support Services including IT Network Security. Businesses access their data in the cloud via the internet.
What types of services does the cloud provide?
The definition of the cloud is deliberately ambiguous and all-encompassing because there is a long list of constantly evolving cloud computing services. The three types of services most likely to be useful to consumers and businesses are related to Infrastructure, Platforms, and Software.
Infrastructure as a Service (IaaS)
The foundation of cloud computing is the physical infrastructure of servers, storage disks, fiber optic cables and other facilities. Organizations benefit from pay-as-you-go, on-demand storage and web hosting, which can be easily scaled as business needs change.
Platform as a Service (PaaS)
Building on the cloud infrastructure foundation, cloud computing provides the platforms and operating systems on which business applications run. A service operator provides programming and web servers allowing application developers to create, test and run their software solutions.
Software as a Service (SaaS)
Consumers use the software solutions developed for use on the cloud. Examples of software that is cloud based include Salesforce, Google Apps, and Microsoft Office 365. Traditional software required a single, up-front cost to use and was installed on each desktop or laptop. Cloud based software requires an annual or monthly fee per user, and the software is accessed through the cloud. Files created can be saved and backed up to a desktop, laptop, or on the cloud, allowing for more available memory on each desktop or laptop. Files saved to the cloud are secure, and some cloud services software allows you to access your data from multiple devices including mobile phones.
Organizations can quickly change the number of users without having to change their associated platform and infrastructure. A just-in-time approach allows for a short response to any changes in staffing.
Cloud storage services
Cloud storage services, which include secure file hosting, file sharing and remote data backup may be the most important SaaS offerings for the average computer user. Cloud storage services typically include 2-5 GB of storage for hosting your data, and you can easily increase your storage for an additional fee.
In the Chicago area, IT Risk Managers partners with Cloud Service providers to develop solutions for unique Small to Mid-size Business needs. If you have any questions about IT Cloud Services or any other IT Business Services, contact IT Risk Managers at firstname.lastname@example.org
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