At one time, the most common phrase you heard was “They’ve got their head in the clouds” – meaning they weren’t thinking realistically or clearly! Today, however, many people have their whole business in the cloud. And it seems the most realistic and rational way to operate!
“Cloud services” refers to a wide range of IT resources offered over the internet. These also include professional services that aid in selecting, deploying, and managing different cloud-based resources.
So – let’s explore cloud services and cloud computing basics to unwrap the topic and see why this might be just the thing for your business this year.
What are Cloud Services?
Cloud services are resources for applications and infrastructure accessible via the Internet. Third-party providers, such as managed service providers (MSPs), offer these services to subscribers, enabling them to benefit from robust computing resources without investing in or maintaining hardware and software.
A few of these services include:
- Infrastructure as a Service (IaaS)
- Platform as a Service (PaaS)
- Software as a Service (SaaS)
To gain a better understanding of the various cloud services these terms refer to, let’s examine their differences.
Infrastructure as a Service (IaaS)
With IaaS, you can set up a separate virtual network environment that’s not connected to other networks. Users can then operate an OS within this environment, and it provides the necessary computing resources you need, such as processing, storage, and networks for software to run on the cloud infrastructure.
While IaaS provides some control over networking components, like firewalls, your level of control may be limited. However, certain providers may offer additional services, including monitoring, automation, security, load balancing, and storage.
Popular IaaS products include:
- Microsoft Azure – computing, networking, storage etc.
- Amazon Web Services – IaaS among other services (as below)
- Google Compute Engine (GCE) – physical hardware and virtual desktop machines, etc.
- DropBox – file storage on their servers
- Oracle – IaaS among other services (as below)
Some examples of what you can use IaaS for are:
- Disaster recovery
- High-performance computing
- Big data analysis
- Cloud bursting to deal with peak IT demand
Software as a Service (SaaS)
SaaS gives you access to software on the cloud that you can access from anywhere.
A few SaaS products from familiar organizations include:
- Adobe Creative Suite
- HubSpot CRM
- Zenefits – HR information management software
- MySQL – relational database product
However, with SaaS, you’re limited to software only. The provider manages and controls the network, servers, operating systems, storage, virtualization, data, middleware, and individual application capabilities.
However, SaaS apps are designed to be user-friendly for a wide audience, which explains their popularity!
Platform as a Service (PaaS)
When compared to SaaS, PaaS gives you more control. With PaaS, you have access to an operating system over the internet, which lets you place your applications onto the cloud infrastructure.
You control your applications, data, and configuration settings for the hosting environment.
Meanwhile, the provider maintains the network, servers, operating systems, and storage while supporting programming languages, libraries, services, and tools.
Some examples of PaaS include:
- Azure Web Apps
- Google App Engine
PaaS gives you access to a full stack of services for app development purposes, from the front end to the back end and everything in between.
Essentially, PaaS gives you full-cycle automation and the flexibility for fast application development.
Let’s move on to cloud computing…
What is Cloud Computing?
When you subscribe to the above services over the internet, they form the basis of your cloud computing.
Instead of relying on local servers or personal devices to handle your data and applications, cloud computing enables you to access and utilize these resources remotely through a network of servers hosted by a service provider.
In a world where remote and hybrid working is now the norm, this technology offers scalability, flexibility, cost-effectiveness, and increased accessibility.
In essence, having access to cloud computing means you
- offload the burden of infrastructure maintenance,
- easily scale your resources up or down according to demand,
- access data and applications from anywhere you have an internet connection, and
- benefit from the latest technological advancements provided by your cloud services provider.
Your nearest MSP will be happy to discuss exactly which of these cloud services (or all of them) will serve your needs best. Uprite is happy to advise and manage your cloud services in Houston, San Antonio, and theDallas-Fort Worth areas.
But let’s examine the advantages of utilizing managed cloud services for your business.
1 Benefits of Cloud Services For Infrastructure
Reduced Capital Expenditure
To build and maintain a physical IT infrastructure you’d need significant upfront investment in hardware, software, and network equipment. Leveraging cloud services means you eliminate or minimize CapEx, as the infrastructure is owned and managed by your cloud service provider.
With cloud computing you access a pay-as-you-go pricing model, paying only for the resources and services you use. You can scale your infrastructure up or down based on demand, avoiding over-provisioning or under-utilization of resources.
Economies of Scale
Your cloud service provider operates at a large scale, serving numerous customers simultaneously. They therefore spread the costs of enterprise-grade infrastructure maintenance, security, and upgrades across their customer base. You benefit from these shared costs!
Reduced Operational Costs
Cloud service providers handle your operational costs such as hardware provisioning, software updates, security patching, and system maintenance. Your dedicated IT staff can focus on their core competencies.
With scalability comes agility and speed that can give you improved operational efficiency, faster time-to-market, and increased productivity – translated into cost savings and competitive advantages!
2 Benefits of Cloud Services For Security
Cloud services offer you several benefits for both protection against data loss and cybersecurity threats. Here are seven of them.
1 Expertise and Resources
Cloud service providers have extensive knowledge, specialize in data security, and invest heavily in robust security measures and technologies. They stay up to date with the latest threats and best practices, ensuring your data is safe.
2 Physical Security
Cloud data centers are designed with stringent physical security measures, including access controls, surveillance systems, and redundancy for power and network connectivity. This equates to multiple layers of security for you!
3 Data Encryption
Cloud services typically offer encryption capabilities to protect data both at rest and in transit. This ensures that even if unauthorized individuals gain access to your data, it remains unreadable and unusable without the encryption keys.
Cloud providers replicate your data across multiple servers and locations, ensuring that even if one server fails or a disaster occurs, your data (your most valuable asset!) remains accessible and recoverable. This helps to minimize risks and ensures business continuity.
5 Threat Detection and Prevention
Cloud services employ advanced security tools and technologies to detect and prevent cyber threats, such as ransomware. These tools include firewalls, intrusion detection and prevention systems, and security information and event management (SIEM) solutions. Your cloud services monitor network traffic, analyze patterns, and employ machine learning algorithms to identify potential security incidents and take proactive measures to mitigate risks 24/7.
6 Scalable Security Solutions
With cloud services, you can scale up your storage for logs and monitoring data, add additional layers of authentication, or implement more advanced security features. In other words, your security assurance is flexible and adaptable, on demand.
7 Regulatory Compliance
When you use compliant cloud services, you leverage your provider’s infrastructure and security controls to help meet your regulatory obligations. For example, complying with industry-specific regulations and standards, such as HIPAA for healthcare or GDPR for data protection.
While cloud services offer robust security measures, note that data security is a shared responsibility.
You must also implement proper security practices, such as strong access controls, user authentication, regular data backups, and employee training, to ensure the overall security of your cloud-based systems!
Get Cloud Services For Your Organization Today
Cloud services give your organization incredible options to help your company move forward. And they provide you with more benefits than hiring – or than restructuring your business.
We’ll help you migrate to the cloud, so you can connect and collaborate anywhere, anytime, while providing an array of cloud services you’ll love.
Contact us today and get a free quote. Let’s talk!