Cloud Computing

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Cloud computing is one of the latest trends in technology, and it has proven to be highly beneficial to businesses and consumers in a variety of ways. There are a number of different types of cloud computing, each used in a different way. What are these types, and how can they be used by a savvy business?

The Basics of Cloud Computing


Cloud computing is essentially using the Internet in place of a traditional IT department. Cloud servers replace in-house servers and computer networks, while employees are still able to access programs and data. This technology rose up as a natural progression of increasing bandwidth Internet connections, coupled with the rising costs of maintaining a computer network. From a business perspective, hiring time on a cloud is cheaper than buying and operating servers, with the added benefit of outsourcing maintenance to the owner of the servers. It also allows small businesses to access their data and applications from any geographical location, rather than requiring that they work on an in-house network.

Types of Cloud Service


There are four primary types of cloud computing services.

Infrastructure as a Service (IaaS) is the most basic level of service. Remote servers offer physical machine or virtual machine access for rent. Businesses purchase space on these servers and are allowed to install applications, use data space and perform tasks on the remote servers. This allows a business to outsource their own data centers or PC upgrades; employees only need a terminal that can connect to the cloud, not one that can run enterprise software. IaaS servers often have nothing installed, and the business must configure an operating system from scratch.

Platform as a Service (PaaS) is one step above IaaS. In this model, the operating system, development environment or database setup is already configured. The business can install applications to make use of this environment. It is essentially a more limited version of IaaS without the need to configure the platform manually.

Software as a Service (SaaS) is the most common cloud computing platform. In it, a business rents time on servers that have certain applications installed and available for use for a specific purpose. They may use a cloud-based timesheet and employee tracking suite, for example, or a data storage application. SaaS systems exist for nearly any type of business application, ranging from email to application development and testing. SaaS platforms are highly variable in capabilities, freedom of use and costs.

Security as a Service (SECaaS) is a new development, particularly in antivirus and antimalware protection. A business can install SECaaS clients on their computers for additional security. A virus cannot disable a remote antivirus at the moment, so until a hole is found in the software, it becomes an effective security suite. Additionally, the virus definitions are always up to date due to the remote nature of the software.

Often, a single cloud company will offer several variations on each of these services. A single company operating an IaaS system can also offer PaaS services with the same hardware. Some SaaS providers offer several different services in an a la carte selection for businesses to choose.

Types of Cloud Deployment


In addition to different types of service, clouds come in different forms. The most basic types of cloud deployment are the private and public clouds.

A public cloud is open to public use. Anyone, consumer or business, can set up an account and purchase time on such a cloud. These are the most common types of cloud available to small businesses and consumers. Larger businesses are capable of using a private cloud.

Private clouds are clouds that are limited to the use of a single business. A third party company may provide the cloud management and maintenance, but that company is only allowed to contract with one business. Private clouds are essentially corporate outsourcing of an IT department.

Additionally, hybrid clouds combine the best of both worlds. A company may offer some services as public options, and may reserve other options specifically for certain businesses. Most clouds in use today are some form of hybrid cloud, even if their private cloud offerings are minimal.

There is also the distributed cloud model, which is a form of cloud that does not use a centralized computer bank. Most clouds are held in server farms or based in the buildings of companies that manage large numbers of servers. A distributed cloud uses servers that may be located in diverse geographic areas. This makes is less powerful for many applications, but more resilient to physical damage. Some distributed options are used by research foundations to harness the power of millions of computers rather than pay for time on supercomputers.

Security Concerns


Early concerns about use of the cloud revolved around intellectual property ownership. If all business operations are performed remotely, which party owns the business? The modern cloud deals with this issue using service contracts; the cloud owner does not own anything that happens on the machines, it simply owns the machines and is responsible for their upkeep.

By far, the largest concern with cloud computing is the issue of security and privacy. When a business stores critical business data on a public cloud, that data is not under the tight control of the business. Anyone with the ability to access that data physically might make a copy of it for later use. As a remote, Internet-connected storage center, a cloud is also potentially susceptible to remote access or hacking.

In practice, the cloud is generally just as secure as an in-house IT department. With a cloud provider, their business success is tied with the security their clients feel. This is a huge incentive to keep server hardware and software up to date, security applied and physical locations secured. Conversely, in an in-house IT department, staff may avoid applying updates to software to avoid breaking existing configurations. In a perfect world, an offline local IT network would be more secure than the cloud, but such conditions are rare.

As an additional security precaution, virtually every cloud provider will maintain encryption on their data. This ensures that, even if a data breach occurs, any stolen data will be unusable without the security keys.

Cloud computing has become a very beneficial way for businesses to access up to date, modern business tools without the cost of a dedicated IT center of their own. Such data, platform and software access is the foundation on which many startups have risen to recent fame in the last few years. As more and more of the world's digital economy moves to cloud computing, the entire system becomes more advanced and more secure.

Please list information about cloud computing, cloud services, and cloud computing providers on this page.

Cloud computing is the name used when a computing processes are conducted in a data center and delivered over the Internet, rather than conducted locally on the machine. There are many processes that can be run in the cloud including server hosting, software, virtual desktops, telephony, and more.

Cloud Computing Providers


Please list cloud computing providers in alphabetical order.


See also

Created by: admin, Last modification: Wed 28 of May, 2014 (22:18 UTC) by voiplet


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