Cloud computing refers to the delivery of various computing services over the internet. These computing services include software, storage, networking, servers, and databases. Let’s say that you create a document using Microsoft Word. While this document could be saved to the hard drive in your computer, you could also decide to upload it to cloud storage via Microsoft OneDrive or Apple iCloud. If you upload something to a cloud you can theoretically access it using any computer. So as long as you can log into Microsoft One Drive you can retrieve your Word document from any device.
Cloud servers are able to free up memory space on individual hard drives, which is ideal if you have small memory space or need to use your hard drive to store other things. Users are able to securely access the many different cloud services by using credentials that they receive from the cloud computing provider. This option is also perfect for businesses that want to avoid issues associated with having in-house data infrastructure. There are many fantastic benefits that come with using cloud computing for yourself or your business, which are discussed in detail below.
Efficiency and Cost Effectiveness of Cloud Computing
A top benefit of using cloud computing is that doing so is efficient and cost-effective when compared to having in-house data infrastructure. For one, you’ll save money by not having to purchase equipment to house company data. You also won’t have to pay for equipment maintenance, which can be costly even if maintenance is rarely required. Without needing to use in-house data infrastructure, you should be able to avoid paying an onsite IT team since the cloud provider that you hire will handle operations on their end. Depending on your exact contract, the cost of system upgrades with new software and hardware might be included by the provider.
When you opt for cloud computing, you should also save money by only paying for the kinds of services that you require. Many cloud providers offer numerous payment plans, which should allow you to avoid paying for superfluous features that you’ll never use. The majority of cloud providers offer a pay-as-you-go pricing system that allows you to only pay for space and features that you use. This payment option is preferable to most companies since it easily scales to account for every cloud computing need.
Data Security and Cloud Computing
A major concern shared by most companies is how to store their sensitive data in a secure and protected manner. Significant data breaches typically result in privacy violations from a loss of customer data, a loss of revenue, and a sizable dip in reputation when customers and clients lose faith in the services that your business provides. Data breaches almost always damage a brand’s reliability and overall standing among current and prospective customers. Even if you’ve established a strong digital presence, it can be difficult to overcome the damage done by a data breach.
Cloud computing takes away most of these security issues by going above and beyond to ensure the safety of your data. The standard protections that are offered by nearly all cloud computing providers extend to data encryption, access control, and user authentication. While data breaches can still occur with cloud computing, they are exceedingly rare. In addition to the base protections, your company may also be able to implement their own protective measures to bolster data security.
RapidScale is a popular cloud computing provider that claims that around 94 percent of businesses experienced an improvement in their data security once they switched over to the cloud. Of these businesses, 91 percent also said that the cloud made it easier to meet requirements for government compliance. Of the businesses that experience a major data breach, around 43 percent do not recover and reopen, which shows just how serious a data breach can be.
Cloud Computing Accommodates the Needs of Different-Sized Companies
Cloud computing can be used by companies of all sizes without issue since it readily accommodates the needs of different-sized companies. These companies will have different amounts of data that need to be stored with cloud computing. Any company that has over 1,000 employees will invariably require a higher amount of storage compared to a company with only 10 or 20 employees, which is usually the case with most startups.
Since storage of data is handled offsite, annual overhead costs for your company should be reduced. Even if your company grows larger, there won’t be any wasted or unused equipment when you need to scale the amount of storage that you use. The flexibility that cloud storage provides gives companies a significant advantage over ones that don’t use cloud computing. Your overall expenses in regards to data storage should be much lower when compared to companies that use more traditional storage solutions.
Effects on Company Culture
Cloud computing can also have a very positive effect on company culture. Since cloud computing involves storing data online, employees should be able to share data and work files much more efficiently than traditional methods. By storing all of your data on a cloud, long-distance collaboration is made possible, which is great if some of your employees work in different locations around the world.
Storing data on the cloud also enables flexible work practices. For instance, your employees could work remotely without running into issues accessing files that they need to use for work. The same is true if your company requires employees to travel on a regular basis. When these employees are at a business conference in another country, they can access their files and data in moments.
Certain cloud-based services such as SalesForce offer collaborative spaces that are able to connect employees throughout your company, which should help to keep your employees engaged. If you believe that cloud computing is right for your company, there are many fantastic providers available to you, which means that you’ll likely want to weigh all of your options.
The Top Three Cloud Computing Providers
There are numerous cloud computing providers that offer differing storage plans alongside additional services and features that you could access. Here are the top three.
Amazon Web Services
Amazon Web Services is among the largest cloud computing services available. It first began in 2006 and initially started out as a basic infrastructure platform that helped developers create and test new apps. At the moment, AWS boasts more than one million users, which include popular companies like Airbnb and Netflix. Since its inception, AWS has grown to the point that it’s now considered to be the go-to platform for developer apps, analytics, tools, and databases.
If you’re thinking about using AWS, the main strengths that are provided by this service extend to a diverse customer base, a partnership with many software vendors that have integrated their solutions into the platform, a wide range of adoption tools like e-business hosting and native cloud applications, and a network of partners that offer their app-development expertise and professional services like data center migration.
As for pricing, you can obtain free tools that never expire when you sign up to use AWS. You’ll also be provided with a free trial for cloud computing that lasts for 12 months as well as other short-term free trials for their additional services. AWS provides users with three different ways to pay, which include:
- Pay-as-you-go – This payment structure allows your business to pay for storage space as you go instead of depending on forecasts, which helps to account for unexpected business growth or issues where you don’t use the allotted capacity
- Pay less by using more – Discounts will kick in as you use more storage space, which is similar to buying in bulk
- Save when you reserve – Paying upfront for storage provides you with high savings
Microsoft Azure is a fantastic cloud computing service that was launched by Microsoft back in 2010. This is an open-source cloud platform that has proven to be highly flexible. It can help users with data storage, development, hosting, and service management. As reported by ZDNet, Microsoft Azure has easily been the fastest-growing segment within Microsoft over the past few years and may soon overtake their Windows segment in total revenues.
The global infrastructure that Microsoft has set up for Azure includes data centers that are positioned in 54 expansive regions that span more than 140 countries, which means that speeds are almost always fast for customers. When using Azure, it’s possible for users to run any service directly on the cloud or combine it with an existing application, infrastructure, or data center, which offers up a significant amount of flexibility.
When looking specifically at pricing, Microsoft Azure can be accessed with a 12-month free trial that provides you with the ability to use all of the more popular services. When signing up, you’ll also be provided with more than 25 services that will always remain free as well as $200 in credit. The main payment option available through Microsoft Azure is pay-as-you-go, which means that your cloud computing package can be tailored to your needs.
Microsoft claims that their service is nearly five times cheaper than AWS since they offer a variety of cost-management tools, the primary of which is the ability to monitor your cloud consumption. You can customize your cloud computing package and calculate the amount you will need to pay for Microsoft Azure by using the pricing calculator on their website.
Google Cloud is another top cloud computing service that first announced its cloud tool in 2008, which was then known as Google App Engine. Over time, Google added more tools and services until the service became known as the Google Cloud Platform. This specific platform provides users with the ability to create various business solutions by using modular web services that are available through Google. Along with cloud storage, Google also offers a variety of additional cloud services that aren’t part of their main platform. For instance, the G Suite service provides customers with a collection of collaboration and productivity apps, which can be very beneficial for your business.
They also offer a feature known as Cloud Identity that allows for enhanced efficiency and security when using the cloud. Employees who use this specific feature can work from practically anywhere and on all devices with just one sign-on. The most notable clients that use Google Cloud for their cloud computing needs include eBay, The New York Times, YouTube, Spotify, and Home Depot.
If you’re wondering about pricing, Google Cloud offers a variety of free applications that include a limited amount of free storage as well as data analytics tools. There are no startup fees for using this service since everything is based on a pay-as-you-go system. When using their services, they offer fantastic discounts for sustained use over a given month and for committing to using a certain amount of cloud storage. These discounts extend from 30-57 percent. Google Cloud also offers sizing recommendations that are based on time savings, money management, and total compute usage.
Why Cloud Computing?
Cloud computing is a highly beneficial storage solution that has been made possible with modern technological advancements. Your company and customer data must be kept safe and secure at all times if you want to avoid costly data breaches. By avoiding the use of in-house data infrastructure, cloud computing gives you the ability to keep all of your data safe and secure no matter the amount.
When you’re considering the various cloud computing providers available to you, providers like Amazon Web Services, Google Cloud, and Microsoft Azure are all reputable services that will handle data security and storage for you. Consider switching over to cloud computing today before a data breach occurs that your company can’t recover from.