What is cloud computing?
Cloud computing is the way to access scalable and on-demand computing services over the Internet. This means that it is not necessary to download or install any kind of software on your device to use computer applications, nor is it necessary to make an initial outlay of money for its use.
With cloud computing services, users can access network technology because their local infrastructures have become online, i.e. in the cloud. Through a network of interconnected servers, data is stored and accessed through an internet connection using an external device.
Cloud computing uses this system of servers to store your systems and data online and thus offer an alternative to users who do not need their computer's memory to work.
Cloud computing features
To further define the concept of cloud computing, let's look at each of the features of this type of cloud applications.
Speed: being an online service, access is immediate and fast. Advances in private networks have made it possible to cover large amounts of data and information, although the speed of access will depend on the speed of the user's Internet network.
Data in one place: thanks to cloud storage, large databases can be grouped together with virtually no limit, which is a major advance when it comes to storing, classifying and finding a company's information.
Accessibility: the data is available to anyone at any time and from any device (as long as it has an internet connection), which means that access is multiplatform (computer, mobile, tablet...) and does not depend on any hardware.
On-demand: to access cloud computing services, there is no need to purchase any type of license or pay a price for a program. The cost depends on the use given to the platform and this is usually for monthly or annual subscriptions or according to the storage space needed. Choosing the plan that best suits a company is the most cost-effective way to access cloud services.
Scalable: the size of cloud computing services is completely adapted to the user. There are usually different levels or plans focused on potential users and their needs. This way, the features of the services can be scaled up or down without any problem.
How does the cloud storage system work?
Normally, cloud tools have two fundamental parts. The service provider and the user. Unlike traditional software, cloud computing works autonomously, using servers outside the systems of a company, which allows remote access to data stored in the cloud. This way, no internal maintenance of the structure is required, nor is it necessary to hire an IT team for it.
Using cloud-hosted software is the key to work remotely, but also to improve internal workflows in all types of companies.
Types of cloud computing
Within the cloud computing system itself, there are four types of clouds in which data is stored according to user access and participation.
Private cloud computing
The private cloud is offered to a group of users selected by the cloud owner. It is often used for large companies and organizations that need high control over data and increased security. For this purpose, they develop software customized to their needs in a private server cloud, in order to have the features of a cloud software. Its cost is also higher, so it is suitable for those companies where the corporate aspect is essential.
Public cloud computing
The public cloud is the one that offers cloud computing services through the Internet in an open way, either for free or for a fee. This means that any user can access it and the provider is in charge of its maintenance. It is the most accessible cloud system that respects the principles of cloud storage, paying special attention to its accessibility and scalability. All users can access the information from any device and its features are easily adapted.
Hybrid cloud computing
As its name suggests, the hybrid cloud is a combination of the two previous models. In this case, both the private cloud and the public cloud are coordinated to create a third one in which an open (non-proprietary) or closed (proprietary) type of technology is used. Its development depends on the specific needs of the company, so it is more customized to the company than the public one, but not as much as the private one.
Community cloud computing
In the community cloud, two companies or organizations share their technological infrastructure to solve a common problem. This case responds to specific needs of very specific sectors such as hospitals or universities.
Advantages and disadvantages of cloud computing
Although the use of cloud computing technology has spread in recent years thanks to the greater and better access they give to data, it is necessary to know cloud computing advantages and disadvantages to assess whether it is the best option for your company.
The Advantages of cloud computing
More and more companies are migrating their servers to the cloud because of the many advantages it offers. Here we will discuss some of the advantages.
Flexibility: remote access facilitates working from anywhere and using any device. Users have total freedom to work, but also to request the resources they need at any time.
Low cost: the price of this type of service are usually limited to the payment for the subscription or the use of storage, which greatly reduces the company's expenses in other types of products or software, as well as in its infrastructure or maintenance.
Security: In most cases, the provider guarantees the security of cloud computing. Data is stored according to security protocols, so the risks are relatively low.
Reduced infrastructure: no physical infrastructure is required, beyond a device with an internet connection. Only these two items are needed to be able to work in the cloud. In addition, updates are obtained automatically to ensure the best version of the system at all times.
Disaster recovery: in the event of any error, a backup copy of the data is always kept, so it can be restored to prevent data loss.
Collaborative work: cloud applications allow simultaneous work among team members, as well as remote access, which increases productivity and efficiency when solving tasks.
Disadvantages of cloud computing
Like any online service, cloud computing also has its drawbacks and you need to be aware of them in order to make a decision about its use.
Dependence on the internet: as already mentioned, an internet connection is necessary to use cloud services and access the data stored on the servers, which means that without a connection it is not possible to work. This could be an big impediment when accessing remotely from certain locations or if you do not have a connection with the necessary speed to process all the data.
Dependence on providers: A company's information is in the hands of external providers, which can lead to some problems as the work depends on outside parties. If the company wants to make significant changes in the infrastructure, cloud computing is not recommendable. However, if cloud computing isn't used there are some limited existing cloud computing models that the company can use, which we discuss in this article.
Data risks: We have previously discussed data security as an advantage of cloud computing, however there will always be a small chance of risks. Data are exposed to possible attacks, so it is essential to review the guarantees offered by providers and be aware of who we offer our information to.
Cloud computing models
In addition to the aforementioned cloud computing services, that are also different cloud computing models that companies can use.
Software as a Service is the integral software model in the cloud that offers an application as a service to users. The entire infrastructure is hosted in a provider's cloud and is itself responsible for its maintenance and automatic updates. It is easily accessed via the Internet from any device and is usually presented as a web-based service.
A Platform as a Service is accessed in the same way as Saas, but does not have the same function. In this case, it is a development platform in the cloud that allows the development of customized applications, regardless of their complexity and is always hosted in the cloud. They are used throughout the entire life cycle of a product and for development tools, database management or business analysis.
Infrastructure as a Service differs from the previous models for several reasons. The first is that the user is responsible for managing the applications and the second is that its payment model is always based on usage. Its main function is to provide customers with an external infrastructure to host data, and it is proposed as a solution for companies to avoid the use of local data centers and thus save costs.
Cloud computing tools for businesses
There are thousands of cloud services available depending on the type of company, the needs of users, the use to which the product will be put, the service model or the pricing model with which they are marketed (freemium, pay-per-use, differentiated plans...). Now knowing the different system models and types of clouds, as well as the advantages and disadvantages of implementing cloud computing in a company's operations, we are going to present and discuss some of the most interesting online tools for companies.
No need to introduce the well-known search engine, but perhaps we can take a look at some of its useful cloud computing tools for online data storage. In addition to its popular tools such as Gmail, Google Calendar or Drive, which are part of most people's daily lives, it also has other, more scalable, customized and reliable products for businesses.
Google Cloud offers all of Google's cloud services, such as Cloud Storage, Compute Engine, Anthos... among many others. Each of the products offers different features depending on the volume of data that needs to be processed, the user base or the size of the infrastructure required.
Among all Google's offerings there is surely a tool that will help you to start implementing cloud computing in your company.
Adobe Creative Cloud is Adobe's cloud service where users access to video editing products, images, graphic design and online storage services. To use Adobe Photoshop, Illustrator, Premiere etc. you need to install the Creative Cloud package, but the advantage is that the files are stored in the cloud so you can work on them from anywhere.
The current Creative Cloud model offers users access to the platform by paying a monthly subscription, so consumers don't own the software.
Asana is an example of a cloud platform focused on a different area of productivity and team management. With this, software, tasks, projects and teams can be organized online which simplifies the daily operations of a company thanks to remote access, and collaborative options. All users have online access from the website, which facilitates internal communication and company performance.
Amazon Web Services (AWS)
Although Amazon's core business is e-commerce, it has also diversified its products into data storage with cloud servers. It offers cloud computing tools such as storage, databases, analytics, networking, mobile devices, developer tools, management tools and many more.
It is considered the world's largest cloud and offers a public infrastructure for anyone who needs to work in the cloud whatever their industry, for example entertainment, technology, finance, analytics etc.
As its name suggests, WeTransfer is the easiest way to transfer files in the cloud. It is a platform created to send files with, no size limit, to anywhere in the world for free, however it also has paid plans with more features and more storage capacity.
Many companies use it to keep their files protected and at the highest quality no matter how many times the delivery is repeated.
Uelz is also an online management software, so its use and advantages are the same as those of other cloud computing services. In our case, we offer an online payment manager from which you can issue and receive all types of payment, as well as store all sales data, customers and services in the cloud. This way, any company can manage their income at any time, on any device and automate their daily management.
Unlike other digital receivables management products, Uelz does not require any technical implementation and demonstrates that receivables management can be simple for all types of businesses.