Cloud technology is a new way for individuals and enterprises to meet their computing requirements. Cloud technology refers to accessing storage capacity and computer applications through the internet rather than through a local hard drive.
Basically, because of cloud technology, you do not have to build and maintain expensive computing equipment. Instead, you can use cloud computing service providers like Amazon Web Services and Microsoft’s Azure.
The “cloud” is just another term for the internet and cloud technology refers to computing that takes place through the internet. Remember that storing data on your local home or office network does not count as cloud computing.
Benefits and Drawbacks of Cloud Computing
Cost – Cloud computing may or may not be cheaper than buying and managing your own IT capabilities. The difference is similar to renting or buying your apartment. Cloud computing does not require a large upfront expenditure, but the recurring cost can add up over time.
If your requirements for computing services are regular and predictable for a long period of time, then it may be cheaper for you to buy your own IT capabilities such as computers, servers, and data centers.
Security – Cloud computing may be considered to be less secure than hosting your own data and applications depending on the sophistication of your IT capabilities. A lot of companies prefer to have local IT capabilities because they can oversee their security and do not have to rely on a third-party service provider like Amazon.
Companies are also wary of hosting sensitive information on the cloud since the same cloud may be used by their competitors. They may also find it harder to build a competitive advantage by using cloud computing since these services are standard in the industry and can easily be used by others.
Again, this depends on how core computing services are to your business. It may make sense to use cloud computing if you only require basic services.
Cloud Computing for Individuals vs. for Businesses
Cloud computing can be categorized into two main branches. Cloud technology that is aimed to be used by businesses and cloud technology that is aimed towards individuals. By individuals, we also mean small businesses that do not require heavy use of computing technology.
Businesses can use cloud technology such as software-as-a-service (SAAS). An SAAS is an application or computer program that can be accessed over the internet. Businesses pay a recurring subscription fee to use such programs. They can also use Platform-as-a-Service (PAAS) wherein businesses have the ability to tailor and create their own applications that can only be used by them. As a third option, businesses can also use Infrastructure-as-a-Service (IAAS) that allows them to rent computing infrastructure from third-party providers like Amazon and Microsoft.
Businesses usually prefer to use a combination of the above depending on their needs.
Cloud computing is one of the ways in which an individual or business can meet their IT requirements. The demand for cloud technology has been growing rapidly in the last few years and a significant percentage of users are switching to cloud technology in one form or the other.
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