Where is "cloud"? How do I know I’m in cloud? Maybe you have already heard these questions or even asked them yourself. Maybe you are using cloud right now and don’t even realize it. And what does cloud mean for businesses?
The cloud is one of the trendy technical terms that many people use but can’t really put their finger on. Let’s look at it this way – are you using any online services?
- Google Drive to create and edit all sorts of documents
- Pinterest to share pictures
- Spotify, Soundcloud to listen to music
- Netflix, Topserialy to watch films and series
- iCloud, Dropbox to save documents, pictures and other files
- Evernote to write notes
All these services are cloud-based. To put it simply, cloud computing can be defined as the provision of a wide range of services, programs or storage that can be accessed by users connected to the internet via web browsers or apps. For example, when you take a picture on your phone, it is stored in your phone’s internal memory drive. However, if you share the pic on Instagram, it will be stored on a cloud.
In more complicated terms, cloud computing provides professional services, such as servers, databases, networking, software, etc. With internet connection, you can access the cloud anytime and anywhere. That means cloud is always available.
Maybe you thought that cloud is just a virtual storage for the data that you no longer want to store on your computer’s hard drive. But cloud creates almost unlimited opportunities and moves the use of the internet on a whole new level.
How can companies benefit from the cloud?
Today, various organizations – from small start-ups to global corporations, agencies or NGOs – are turning to cloud for various reasons. It’s quick, efficient and cost-effective. Companies don’t have to buy their own hardware and take care of it. In addition, companies only pay for what they really use.
Cloud allows companies:
- to create new apps and services
- to store, back-up and recover data
- to host websites, e-commerce, blogs and other portals
- to stream audio and video
- to develop and deliver various software solutions.
CloudTalk, our call center software, also uses cloud computing. That means that the only thing our clients need to work with CloudTalk is internet access. There’s no need for special installations or local storage for your data, because everything is operated and stored in the cloud. For more information on our cloud-based call center, please read our post 8 benefits of transferring your call center system into cloud.
Remember – cloud is a network of servers. Some of them provide online services, such as Adobe Creative Cloud. Others allow you to store and access various data, like Instagram or Dropbox. These are just two aspects we’ve touched on.
Where is cloud?
The word cloud suggests that it’s something virtual or immaterial. But that doesn’t mean it doesn’t have its physical location – There’s no cloud, it’s just someone else’s computer. For example, the not-so-well-known Amazon Web Services or Microsoft Azure own servers in data centers all over the world and rent them out to other companies – end users – via cloud. A single server can be used by several companies based on their current needs.
However, the end user doesn’t have to care where the server’s physical location is, because it’s accessible via cloud anytime and there’s no need to worry about losing data.
Types of cloud services for businesses
- Infrastructure as a service (IaaS). This is the most basic type of cloud computing service. IaaS providers let you rent their IT infrastructure. That means you rent servers, storage, networks or operating systems from a cloud provider. (For example, Netflix can provide its services because it’s a customer of the cloud service at Amazon.)
- Platform as a service (PaaS). This services refers to cloud services that supply an environment for developing, testing and managing software applications.
- Software as a service (SaaS). A method of providing various apps over the internet. The SaaS provider manages these apps and their infrastructure and takes care of maintenance.