Cloud computing is the latest trend in technology, and you can use it to do some incredible things! The flexibility of cloud computing means you can use it to do many things–but what are the most valuable things you can use cloud computing for? How do you use cloud computing?
While many cloud computing services are available, this blog will explore how cloud computing can help you, no matter what your business needs.
Understanding Cloud Computing
Cloud computing is about using a third-party provider for your IT services rather than hosting and maintaining those services in-house. We use cloud computing for everything from firewalls to PBXs and VPNs. For example, suppose you’re running a small business and need a way to remotely access your office computer. In that case, you could pay $100 per month to have an employee install a new router or $150 per month to rent one with cloud computing. Essentially, you pay as you go — which means you only pay when you use it! Companies that implement cloud solutions say it helps them reduce costs while improving efficiency and scalability.
Infrastructure as a Service (IaaS)
Many businesses are choosing to move their technology infrastructure to a cloud environment. Instead of handling it themselves, they use a provider that does it for them. This is most commonly referred to as Infrastructure as a Service (IaaS). There are many benefits of using IaaS instead of managing your own servers, including reducing capital expenditures and improving disaster recovery preparedness. For example, suppose you host your company’s website on Amazon Web Services (AWS). In that case, you don’t have to worry about power outages at your physical location. AWS provides constant electricity and security in its data centers so you can focus on doing what you do best.
Platform as a Service (PaaS)
PaaS makes it easy to develop an application. Developers don’t have to worry about installing an operating system or maintaining software to focus on building their apps. To get started with PaaS, first look for a service that supports your programming language of choice. There are also options like Google App Engine that support multiple languages. Many resources are available online that show you how to get started with PaaS.
The great thing about most PaaS solutions is that you pay only for what you use, which means your startup costs are minimal. Scaling isn’t as expensive as buying servers outright. Amazon EC2 offers access to cloud computing through Web services — without requiring web hosting expertise. With Amazon EC2, web developers can quickly create and deploy applications using existing technology infrastructures such as servers, storage, and networking systems within minutes. That saves time and money compared to traditional methods.
Software as a Service (SaaS)
The quickest and easiest way to use cloud computing is with a Software as a Service (SaaS) product. SaaS products are software products that run entirely in the cloud, which means you can access them from any computer, with no installation necessary. Using cloud-based services is inexpensive and straightforward. Once you’re set up, all you need to do is log in with your username and password. But it also comes with its limitations. For example, if you’re trying to build something for a specific purpose (e.g., accessing customer data), using a SaaS solution may not be the best fit.
Things You Can Do with Cloud Computing
Now that you know what cloud computing is, it’s crucial to think about where you could apply it. Here are ten common types of applications and services that use cloud computing (listed in no particular order) to get you started.
- Firewalls. One of the most secure ways to keep your information safe is with a firewall (also known as a packet filter or screened subnet). A firewall allows or blocks incoming and outgoing network traffic based on specific criteria. Network firewalls essentially work by filtering packets at their entry point into a network. You can use them to protect against potential intruders, maintain privacy, prevent errors, and manage bandwidth resources. The beauty of using cloud computing for firewalls is that you can remotely access these services and don’t have to invest in expensive hardware. Some commonly used cloud computing providers include iptables, Linux Virtual Server (LVS), and Amazon EC2.
- (Virtual) Private Clouds. Virtual private clouds use cloud computing techniques to provide on-demand, self-service access to a shared pool of configurable computing resources (e.g., networks, servers, and storage) that can get provisioned and released with minimal management effort or service provider interaction. 6-(Virtual) Appliances. Cloud computing makes it easy for you to launch sophisticated applications without configuring and deploying software individually. Common examples include network security appliances, load balancers, VPN concentrators, and web application firewalls.
- Voice over IP (VoIP). An increasing number of organizations use VoIP, and a growing number of users are opting to use VoIP solutions instead of traditional phone services. Cloud computing providers offer an affordable and reliable alternative if you need to manage voice communication over internet protocol networks. Some commonly used VoIP systems include Lync Server, Cisco Unified Communications Manager, and Skype for Business Server.7-(Virtual) Desktops/VDI.
- VPNs. A VPN, or virtual private network, can increase security, protect your privacy and maintain safety. To use a virtual private network, you need to connect (or tunnel) your computer securely to a network operated by a provider. Then you have to use that provider’s IP address for all of your online activity. This means that all of your browsing information gets encrypted as it travels over public networks like Wi-Fi or cellular networks.
- IDS/IPS. An intrusion detection system (IDS) monitors network or system activities for malicious activity or policy violations. An intrusion prevention system (IPS) performs actions based on IDS notifications by blocking, dropping, or reconfiguring offending traffic. Cloud computing makes it easy to access real-time network data, allowing you to detect and respond more quickly to threats than ever before. Some standard cloud computing providers include Radware and Open Security Center.6-(Virtual) PBXs/IP-PBXs.
The Pros and Cons of Cloud Computing
Cloud computing is a relatively new concept. Despite some of its drawbacks, it’s quickly becoming one of the most popular forms of technology. Cloud computing services are much more cost-effective than traditional solutions and offer quick scalability. One downside is that cloud solutions can be less secure than other options. That is especially true when users access information through public clouds rather than private ones. Also, cloud services usually depend on internet connectivity to function. So, you need to consider whether you want to rely on your service provider for backup files.
However, there are ways around these issues; cloud security has gotten better over time, and many businesses use multiple clouds if their primary one goes down. And if you lose connection but have important files stored offline, simply use your internet connection to bring them up again once it’s restored.
Overall, cloud computing is still very much worth considering as an option—particularly if you’re just starting out or don’t need to host your business from home. You can always change providers later if things don’t work out with your first company. Or you may decide not to rely on cloud solutions at all by using offsite servers instead. To learn more about how cloud computing works or how companies can use these systems for their businesses, contact professional IT support today!
Why Cloud Computing Is a Rational Choice for Your Business
Over 10 years ago, Robert Metcalfe, an inventor and entrepreneur, penned his famous law on networking. Metcalfe’s law states that a network’s value is proportional to its number of users squared. We can clearly see this in social media networks. Every time a new user joins Facebook or Twitter, they immediately have access to a much larger pool of friends and connections than they did before. The same is true for businesses; when companies migrate their applications from physical machines to hosted cloud platforms, they access an exponentially larger infrastructure than before.
But most people in business still aren’t using cloud computing to its full potential. It’s not that they don’t understand how it works—it can confuse at first—but many companies are afraid of being surprised when something goes wrong. The thought of losing access to their data is so scary that they’d rather keep everything under their own roof than face even a tiny chance of downtime. But these fears are entirely unfounded. A solid cloud platform will keep your data safe and accessible as long as you want it to be, whether you’re running an app or keeping backup copies of files on hand.