Somewhere, an assistant is furiously searching cloud technology. Her boss clicked the pop-up ad: “lower business cost with cloud technology, “CLICK HERE”. Angered by the barrage of options, he tasked her with sifting through the information while he went to lunch. This article explains Cloud Services in simple language that will make her life a little easier.
Definition of Cloud
“The Cloud”, “Cloud Services” etc, both refer to the capability of sharing software and information through the internet and human interface devices. Cloud technology differs from virtualization because it is not physically part of the infrastructure of the network, but instead its own virtual infrastructure. Simply put, Cloud refers to networking setups which allow the exchange of information, programs, and functions over the internet. Sound like email; well, providers that store email on a virtual server is one example. In 2013 however, cloud capabilities have surpassed email, allowing a program to be stored virtually and operated from anywhere.
The four most used models for Cloud services are Network as a Service (Naas), Platform as a Service (PaaS), Software as a Service (SaaS), and Infrastructure as a Service (IaaS). Naas signifies a setup that allows the user to connect directly with the integrated network via VPN or other similar networking tool. PaaS allows the user to connect to virtual runtime environments thereby accessing software such as databases, other servers, or entire operating systems. Accordingly, SaaS allows the user to interface via software located directly on the Cloud server. Finally, IaaS is the model that includes an actual virtualized infrastructure such as a virtual server.
Benefits of Cloud
The biggest benefit of Cloud technology is the ability of downsizing a business’s number of employees while simultaneously reducing operational costs. Expensive IT issues that may have required several hours of work in different locations could be tackled from one location. Cloud technology can also make virtualization of the whole business cheaper. Correctly setup, employee would log into the work server to use without the need of their own copy of business software. Secondly, services that would normally unavailable outside of the office have the capability to travel with the internet.
Cons of Cloud
Downtime, security, and provider restrictions are the most prominent concerns about the technology. Anytime internet access is unavailable cloud systems are also. Since cloud information is stored virtually, security is also a concern. Sensitive information may be better stored locally unless both the client and the business are comfortable with the security of the Cloud provider. Accordingly, the final concern is the provider itself. Can the provider tackle all of your cloud needs, at a reasonable price?
Cloud seems to be the future of network infrastructure; at least now, if your boss clicks the same Click Here for Cloud technology ad, you’ll be able to explain it without missing lunch!