In the most basic of terms, cloud computing provides on-demand computing services over the internet for things like storage, processing power, and application hosting. Instead of companies having to build their own data center or computing infrastructures, a task both extremely expensive and high-technical, companies can work with cloud service providers to gain access to the on-demand application they need. Companies will only pay for what they need when they need it, rather than devising a complex IT system that requires constant maintenance and investment.
Cloud Computing Services
There are many things that can be through the cloud, and commercial applications aren’t the only things taking advantage of the storage and hosting applications. Consider the applications on the average iPhone and the storage options for media, files, and gameplay. Computing services range from complex processing powers with artificial intelligence computing to basic data storage or office applications like Microsoft Word or Excel. Cloud services can assist with any service that doesn’t require direct or physically close contact with a specific piece of computer hardware.
Cloud Computing Examples
Thanks to improvements in 5G core network services, many smartphone users rely on cloud computing every day. Emails services like Gmail are accessed through smartphones or tablets, as the service has its data hosted in the cloud. Netflix and Disney+ are streaming services where videos and media are stored in the cloud and accessed by millions of individuals around the globe. Software development is being moved toward cloud-based applications, where software disks are no longer required to be installed in every computer needing access to a specific program.
Cloud Computing Importance
The cloud isn’t new to the IT scene, but it is quickly becoming one of the most important areas of IT development and enhancements. More than one-third of all the money spent around the world on IT services deals with cloud computing infrastructure. There are several leading cloud service providers spending money to continue developing access, but the average business is also spending money in order to move workloads and processes to cloud-based solutions. Enterprises with enough resources are also working to build private cloud systems for their organization.
Cloud Computing Security
As with any area of IT, security concerns are many with cloud computing and services. A cloud environment faces security threats similar to that of a traditional data center. The software systems running the service have vulnerabilities that could be exploited by the wrong individual or group. The challenge with these vulnerabilities is defining who bears that responsibility of a cyberattack successfully occurs. Cloud services providers and consumers share the responsibility of data security, but consumers have the least involvement with control over the cloud-based security protocols.
Cloud security originates with the service provider, but the consumer should follow best practices in access and authorized use. On-premise IT departments can provide the monitoring and logging of all users, accessed application, and data storage for a specific company, adding another layer of security to the cloud host’s defenses against cyberattack. Because cloud computing is growing so rapidly, security concerns will continue to be prioritized to ensure the safe storage and transmission of data around the globe and within private companies.
Cloud Computing Models
There are three models that are used in cloud computing. The first is Infrastructure-as-a-Service. This is where foundational aspects of computing are rented either as a virtual or physical server, as a storage application or as a networking service. The next layer is Platform-as-a-Service, which includes the foundational elements but also includes the various software or tools a developer may need to construct an additional function. These are more complex and include operating systems, database management and middleware. Software-as-a-Service is the instant delivery of an application that is immediately consumed.
The most dominant cloud computing model is Software-as-a-Service, as this is where most of the public spends money. However, it is still early in cloud research and development, and commercial ventures will soon rival the public’s dependence on cloud services.