Unlocking the Power of Cloud Computing: Benefits, Risks, Types
Discover how to harness the potential of cloud computing in our latest post. Learn the numerous benefits, from cost savings to enhanced flexibility, and revolutionize your business operations today.
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Cloud computing (CC) is one of the most influential and transformative technologies of our time. It could revolutionize business operations, delivering immense cost savings and operational efficiencies. However, many organizations have yet to realize the full potential of CC.
What is Cloud Computing and How it Works
Cloud computing is the technology that allows delivering computing services on demand with the help of the Internet. Thus, companies and organizations rent the storage from vendors instead of investing in their servers and data storage systems. Cloud service providers ensure that users have constant and stable access to their cloud at any time and that all the information is protected.
Users pay for cloud services on a usage basis, often using a pay-per-use or subscription model. This means users only pay for the resources they use and can scale them up or down as needed. This flexibility and cost savings make cloud computing an attractive option for businesses and organizations of all sizes.
The name “cloud” has nothing to do with the sky and the weather. It was likely to be borrowed from the old diagrams of telecom networks. On those, the network was usually depicted as a cloud. Later, the cloud symbol was also used to depict the Internet in schemes and diagrams.
8 Benefits of Cloud Computing for Your Business
Now that you have a basic understanding of cloud computing, you may wonder what the benefits of using it in your company. Undoubtedly, cloud computing has plenty of advantages for any business. Among the most prominent are:
#1. Reduced costs
The first and one of the most important reasons (especially for small companies and start-ups) is the budget-friendliness of cloud computing. With cloud computing, there is no need to invest in hardware, additional office space for said hardware, or maintenance. Moreover, you can save on personnel as you do not need to hire technicians and system administrators to install and care for the hardware. With cloud computing, you choose a subscription plan matching your needs and budget. Many providers offer pay-as-you-go plans where you get charged for procured services.
It allows you change your subscription quickly and access your files anywhere and anytime. These options let you use your budget, workforce, and time more efficiently.
Drastic and sudden changes in the number of team members won’t take you by surprise. You can easily purchase additional storage or features or quickly change the subscription plan.
#4. No need for a backup plan
If something happens to the hardware, some data can be damaged or even lost forever. Such a scenario is impossible with cloud computing. Your data is safe and available as long as you have an Internet connection. If you are not ready to switch entirely to cloud computing, you may use the cloud as a backup to store the most critical data.
#5. Data security
Modern technologies make it almost impossible to steal the data from the cloud. Some providers even have test teams that regularly try to penetrate the system to ensure that their client’s data is safe. Good user management and password policies within the enterprise are also vital for the security of your data. The best providers have the certification that proves the safety of their platform.
#6. A wide range of options
There are numerous providers on the market. After you write down all your requirements and needs of the company, you can compare subscription plans and features each vendor offers. Moreover, there are different types of cloud computing (SaaS, PaaS, IaaS), so you definitely will find one that will meet your expectations.
#7. Improved collaboration
As staff augmentation and outsourcing become increasingly popular, improving team communication becomes critical. Cloud infrastructure allows team members from different parts of the world to easily share data, communicate, see real-time updates on projects, and collaborate in various ways.
#8. Long-Term Investment
As we mentioned before, when you choose cloud platforms, you save money that you could spend on service and hardware repair. Instead of investing in hardware, you can stretch your expenses by paying for an annual or monthly cloud subscription.
As you can see, cloud platforms have several undeniable advantages that are relevant to any business. Cloud computing may help reduce expenses, boost team performance, and improve data security.
Risks, Threats and Vulnerabilities in Moving to the Cloud
However, like any other technology, cloud computing has certain risks. If you are considering using cloud computing for your business, you should consider the most important drawbacks. Six main disadvantages of cloud technology are:
Vulnerability to attacks
Every cloud platform, however secure it is, has a potential attack risk. To minimize these risks and be sure confidential information is protected correctly, give your team training on security and data protection and use encryption whenever possible.
Cloud Hacking: Common Attacks & Vulnerabilities
Network connectivity dependency
As cloud computing is the technology on the Internet, downtime becomes one of the critical disadvantages of it. Internet providers can only guarantee perfect service sometimes, which sometimes entails huge money losses for the company. On the other hand, your vendor may experience problems as well with DDoS attacks or system failures. To secure yourself from these problems, you should always have a recovery plan and consider implementing a dedicated network connection.
Although the world of technology is constantly evolving, transferring data from one provider’s cloud platform to another may be quite challenging. Such a process may entail additional expenses or even breach the security of your data. To avoid this problem, first of all, choose the vendor wisely. It is better to spend more time comparing the providers and sometimes even to pay more for a subscription plan to ensure you make the best decision. Secondly, try a multi-cloud model where you combine the services of different providers.
Providers give customers control over their data. However, the control over the execution and function of services is almost always limited. Let alone the control over the pricing policy, meaning that the provider may change the price of services very unexpectedly.
Security and Privacy
Every cloud service company constantly improves its security standards. However, trusting critical business information to a third-party company is always risky. To lower security risks, you should pay special attention to your provider’s shared responsibility model. Moreover, it would help if you created a strict access rights policy in your company so that sensitive data is available to a limited number of employees.
Although cloud computing is an excellent long-term investment, it is not budget-friendly for small short-term projects. Also, if you are using a pay-as-you-go plan, the final price of the services may be higher than expected. Therefore, using pre-paid plans and tracking cloud spending is better.
Just like any other business decision, switching to cloud computing requires risk evaluation. However, with proper research and evaluation of the company’s needs, you may find the best cloud computing type and model.
Exmples of Cloud Computing Services
Cloud computing services can be roughly divided into three types ‒ SaaS, PaaS, and IaaS.
Software as a Service (SaaS) is the method of software delivery where software is treated as a Web-based service. In this case, users pay a monthly or annual fee to subscribe to the service. Usually, SaaS does not require installing any programs or applications and runs in a web browser. SaaS is widely used as it usually saves money and time spent installing and maintaining software. Other advantages of this type of service are mobility and flexibility.
Platform as a Service (PaaS) is targeted mainly at software developers. In a case with PaaS, providers offer users the web platform to build applications upon. Such option simplifies the lives of developers as they do not have to worry about the operation system, infrastructure, or storage. If you have tight deadlines, PaaS is a good idea as well. It allows starting directly with creating a customized app instead of devoting time to creating the necessary infrastructure. Nonetheless, there are some drawbacks to PaaS also. Among them ‒ additional expenses and reduced control. Vendor lock-in is a big risk in this case as well.
The brightest examples of PaaS include:
- AWS Elastic Beanstalk helps you deploy and manage web applications with capacity provisioning, app health monitoring, and more.
- Oracle Cloud Infrastructure (OCI). The next-generation cloud designed to run any application, faster and more securely, for less.
- Google App Engine lets app developers build scalable web and mobile back ends in any programming language on a fully managed serverless platform.
- Red Hat OpenShift is a unified platform to build, modernize, and deploy applications at scale.
- SAP Cloud Platform – PaaS and App Development.
In the case with Infrastructure as a Service (IaaS), the vendor provides the enterprise with the computing infrastructure. The most important detail is that all the control is in the hands of the clients as this service usually delivered through an API or a dashboard. Clients do not need to purchase and maintain a physical data center while still getting all the benefits of it. It is a perfect decision for small companies, startups, or small projects. Such advantages of IaaS as flexibility, scalability, and the ability to control everything are undeniable. As for the disadvantages of the IaaS, the necessity of corporate training (which means additional time and costs) and possible security risks can be named.
The best examples of IaaS are:
- Amazon Web Services provides a highly reliable, scalable, low-cost infrastructure platform in the cloud.
- IBM Cloud with Red Hat offers market-leading security, enterprise scalability and open innovation to unlock the full potential of cloud and AI.
- Google Cloud Platform lets you build, deploy, and scale applications, websites, and services on the same infrastructure as Google.
- Azure is a cloud computing platform operated by Microsoft that provides access to and management of applications and services via around the world-distributed data centers.
- Elastic Compute Service (ECS) is an IaaS offering on Alibaba Cloud that provides high-performance, stable, reliable, and scalable compute capacity in the cloud.
Needless to say that before choosing any particular model, you should research each of them deeper. And then compare found information with the requirements and expectations of your organization. Each of the models offers something special and is suitable for particular projects and teams. But no matter what you choose, switching to the cloud is definitely the future of business. So if you want to keep up with the times, you should consider doing it as soon as possible.
Cloud Computing Deployment Models (definition and key aspects)
Depending on the deployment method, cloud computing can be divided into four different models.
In this model, an independent company offers access to cloud platforms for both individual users and enterprises. The services of the providers are sold on demand. These companies usually provide pay-as-you-go plans, although it is possible to sign a long-term agreement. The most prominent and most well-known public cloud vendors are IBM, Microsoft, Google, and Amazon.
In this case, cloud infrastructure may be operated by a third-party company or managed internally. However, this infrastructure is designed for a single organization and serves solely the needs of the said enterprise. Although such a model offers better control and is generally considered safer, it requires significant expenses and has a physical footprint.
This deployment model is a combination of a private and public cloud. Usually, the public cloud serves as a base that is later complemented and improved with the features of a public cloud. This option helps companies use the best qualities of public platforms and still have the security and control of private cloud data.
It means combining different cloud services of different vendors in one architecture. It allows companies to choose various third-party providers’ best features and plans. Thus, it lets organizations create a unique cloud platform version that perfectly matches their requirements.
You should choose the cloud computing model depending on the type of your business, the size of your team, and other special requirements you have.
Future of Cloud Computing
The future of cloud computing looks very bright. It is expected to continue to grow exponentially in the coming years. Businesses of all sizes will continue to leverage the cloud to drive growth and innovation, with organizations investing more in cloud services and solutions. Additionally, the emergence of new technologies such as edge computing, 5G, and the Internet of Things (IoT) will continue to drive the demand for cloud computing solutions.
With the rapid development of technology and globalization trends, it is undeniable that cloud computing will only get more popular and widespread among organizations. Different types and service models give customization opportunities and will match the needs of even the most demanding users. Undeniable advantages of the cloud, such as budget-friendliness, scalability, and flexibility, should persuade you to try cloud computing.
And if your company works with remote employees or even the whole team, cloud computing may be the perfect choice for you. It improves team collaboration and solves several possible security issues that may arise. Thus, don’t hesitate to assess cloud computing opportunities right now.