Understanding cloud technology at first glance may seem complex. However, only with its clear understanding we’ll see and comprehend how the cloud can improve a company’s business. For that reason, we wrote an article that deals with key cloud computing stuff.
First of all, let’s give a brief introduction to this technology, in general.
Cloud technology has significantly influenced the way companies are thinking about their IT resources and manage them. Cloud became popular at the beginning of the 21st century, although it has its roots in the ’60s when there was a concept of renting time on mainframe computers (extremely powerful computers with a fast processor and large storage space). At that time, this service was provided by computer bureaus.
However, with the development of technology accompanied by the expansion of the market, the cloud has become present all around us, both in the private and business environment. Cloud computing has become the basis for many future services and useful technological solutions.
Cloud computing is recognized as a major ally of companies on the path to digitalization. According to Forbes, 83% of the business applications of leading companies will be on the cloud by 2020.
Entering the world of cloud technologies is interspersed with numerous questions. For this reason, we have decided to list the most popular and most important questions in one place and provide the clearest possible answers to them, so that you can get acquainted with the terminology and fully understand how the cloud can improve your business.
Many identify cloud computing with cloud hosting so the distinction has to be made here. Cloud hosting is a set of computing resources and a service offered by cloud computing technology. Cloud hosting is best suitable for hosting data or services for small and medium-sized businesses of limited budgets.
Furthermore, cloud hosting is a cloud delivery model based on Infrastructure as a Service (IaaS), about which you’ll read in the continuation of the article, that provides virtual services. MySQL hosting, consisting of a MySQL database created on a cloud server, is one of the most reliable cloud hosting solutions. Daily backups and security measures these providers offer will make your data safe. Security is based on exploiting the most highly secured configuration of MySQL, and it uses resources such as storage, hardware, network, and others from a vendor.
What’s Cloud Computing?
Cloud computing is a term used to describe the delivery of all hosted services over the Internet. In addition to cloud computing, companies have the ability to use resources such as virtual machines, storage space where their applications, platforms, the entire IT business are… while, at the same time, relieving the burden (both in organizational and financial terms) that creates construction and maintaining its own infrastructure within the company.
What Are the Best-Known Cloud Solutions and How Do They Differ?
Cloud solutions differ according to the benefits they offer, the level of protection, the allowed access to data, as well as the way responsibilities are shared between the client and the one who provides the cloud service (i.e. a provider).
There are 3 cloud solutions:
Public cloud solutions are owned by third parties (cloud service providers) who make their resources available to customers, whether it’s storage space or virtual servers. Therefore, all hardware and software equipment belong to the cloud provider and it’s responsible for maintaining the infrastructure.
All data is updated in an instant, which is a great benefit for companies that typically manage large projects involving multiple different parties. Although it provides good flexibility and an excellent level of scalability, this solution is still a bit more vulnerable (in terms of security) compared to the Private cloud.
When it comes to a Private Cloud solution, it’s a matter of computing resources used exclusively by one company or organization, which provides an additional layer of protection and security. Some companies choose to keep the entire infrastructure in their physical location, while others opt for a partnership and choose a cloud provider that will take full care of the system maintenance.
As the name suggests, the Hybrid cloud combines the advantages of the previous two types of systems and allows data exchange between them. This provides additional flexibility and enhanced protection of sensitive data.
What Cloud Computing Models Exist and What Characterizes Them?
Platform as a Service (PaaS)
It’s a cloud computing model that means a third party (i.e. a cloud provider) provides users with all the necessary hardware and software equipment, which enables the development of applications or cooperation across the platform via the Internet.
The entire infrastructure is owned by the provider and it’s responsible for taking care of the system. Therefore, whoever chooses the PaaS model is free to use the cloud without additional investment in hardware and software and without the burden of costs that typically accompany the storage of infrastructure at its location.
Infrastructure as a Service (IaaS)
This is the most basic cloud computing model that involves renting IT infrastructure (e.g. servers and virtual machines, storage space, networks, and operating systems) from a third party (cloud provider). Payment works on a pay-as-you-go basis, which means that users pay only for those resources that they actually use. This significantly optimizes costs and allows companies to spend financial resources more rationally.
Software as a Service (SaaS)
It involves a method of delivering software over the Internet at the request of the user or on a subscription basis. In addition to the SaaS model, cloud providers are responsible for hosting and managing software applications and the entire core infrastructure.
This party is also responsible for updating the software and continuously monitoring system security, as well as resolving any vulnerabilities. Users connect to the app via the Internet, most often using an Internet browser on their mobile phone, tablet or computer.
What Are the Business Benefits of Implementing Cloud Computing Technology?
There are a number of benefits of cloud technology for companies, but we’ll list only the key ones here:
Business Speed and Flexibility
Cloud technology is able to follow the growth and development of companies since it’s a system that’s fully scalable. In the past, major changes in the volume of business operations have been a problem, as they have required additional costs.
In addition, the cloud enables instant data updates and access to off-site data, ensuring easy communication, and accelerating the collaboration of multiple teams working on a joint project. This also leads to an increase in overall productivity levels.
Better Security of It Systems
Cloud technology is a major ally in the context of a well-designed disaster recovery plan, as data is stored off-site. Backup systems and mutual replication of data from several different data centers enable uninterrupted business continuity, even in the event of an IT disaster.
Availability of Different models
As we have already explained in an answer to the second question, cloud technology is available in three different forms which means that with quality, the business also needs analysis and detailed cost analysis, so you can choose exactly the solution that perfectly suits your company’s specific case.
Because cloud solutions are based on pay-as-you-go, users will avoid wasting money: no matter which model you choose (PaaS, IaaS or SaaS), you’ll never pay for what you don’t use, thanks to the excellent scalability of the system.
What’s a Cloud Strategy?
We continue further and deal with clarifying the concepts related to the implementation of cloud solutions – primarily through the cloud strategy and migration process.
In order to choose the right cloud solution for your company and get the most out of it, you need to define a cloud strategy. This document boils down to defining two key things:
- Real business needs and technical requirements that your company has
- Goals you want to achieve with cloud technology
According to the latest reports, there’s a trend in the corporate world to adopt a multiple cloud strategy: as many as 81% of large companies decide to take such a step, realizing that it can bring them long-term savings and better business efficiency.
Simply put, the essence of creating a cloud strategy is in the following steps:
- List of all IT resources and applications
- Defining the needs and requirements for each of these resources (in terms of performance, costs, level of protection, etc.)
- Defining the appropriate cloud solution for each of the resources
- Consideration of business needs (costs and ROI, the required level of agility and flexibility, partnerships, legal side – licensing, responsibilities, etc.)
- Consideration of technical needs (basic needs, network needs, needs in terms of the amount of stored data space, etc.)
How Complicated Is It to Migrate to the Cloud?
With a detailed plan and a reliable and professional partner, the migration of the system to the cloud is possible with minimal disruption to business operations. The process is certainly complex and requires appropriate documentation and clearly defined steps.
It all starts with an in-depth analysis of the existing IT environment, as well as a realistic set of expectations from cloud technology. With a well-crafted cloud strategy, it’s much easier to determine which cloud model is right for your company’s specific case.
Prior to implementation, it’s necessary to define evidence of efficiency and provide expert ROI assessment in order for senior management to approve the migration of the system. The execution of the migration itself will depend on:
- What kind of system you currently own (e.g. whether the applications are based on outdated methods)
- The prioritization you set within the plan (i.e. how cleverly you define which applications first need to be moved to the cloud).
After the migration, the system is tested and optimized, which is usually the responsibility of the cloud provider. Since the stakes are large and no business wants to risk data loss or business downtime (and therefore money loss), companies usually decide to leave the entire system migration to a cloud provider, which is legally regulated by the SLA contract.
Cloud Feasibility Study
Before you decide to move your applications and data to the cloud, it’s necessary to thoroughly analyze and understand the current situation, the capabilities of your existing infrastructure, the knowledge, and capabilities of your IT, as well as future business challenges and needs to which cloud feasibility studies can fully contribute.
This approach allows you to lay the foundation for good architecture, system security, as well as cost-effectiveness and compliance with business objectives. After the realization of the cloud feasibility study, the IT environment is improved through:
- Action plan – Defined segments that benefit from switching to the cloud, with a precise model, priorities, and method of implementation
- Lower fixed costs – Pay only for what’s actually necessary and used
- Location-optimized resources – Efficient IT operations without unused resources
- Flexible environment – Architecture and operating models defined according to your needs
Is the Cloud Secure?
By 2022, about 95% of security vulnerabilities will be the responsibility of users themselves, not cloud technology. The cloud system itself is secure and provides adequate data protection, but it becomes a vulnerable structure if users themselves don’t follow protocols or ignore practices that are considered recommended.
When it comes to a cloud environment and authorized access that has a limited number of people – an advanced encryption method is in force. There’s a unique identification key that allows access to the system, as well as a complex algorithm that prevents external attacks on the system.
If defined in the contract, the third party (i.e. the cloud provider) is responsible for monitoring the security of the system and its possible vulnerabilities, as well as for improving the system. Strategies such as Data Loss Prevention are recorded in order to precisely define the steps for preventing data loss in case of emergencies.
Thus, the cloud implies a protected and secure environment, but the reckless implementation of this technology or unprofessional system maintenance can pose a potential risk to the company.