What is Cloud Computing?

According to an InformationWeek survey, 65 percent of respondents said the ability to quickly meet business demands is one of the most important reasons for businesses to move to cloud computing. 

Cloud computing is the on-demand delivery of computing resources over the internet. These services include servers, storage, databases, network, and software. It is a pay-as-you-go model where companies pay only for the services they use. Companies won't need to invest in and maintain expensive infrastructure. Instead, a third-party provider handles the setup, configuration, and maintenance of all services. 

Types of Cloud Computing

Internet-based computing takes several forms. Each offers specific functions. Companies can use one or all of these services to manage their applications and infrastructure.

Infrastructure as a Service (IaaS)

Remote computing can reduce infrastructure costs. IaaS is a service that provides computing, storage, and networking resources. 

Platform as a Service (PaaS)

Like IaaS, Platform as a Service provides servers and storage. However, it also provides middleware, development tools, database services, and Business Intelligence (BI). This service supports the complete application development lifecycle. With this approach, companies avoid the expense of purchasing software licenses, middleware, or development tools. As a result, developers can focus on coding rather than managing infrastructure and middleware configuration.

Software as a Service (SaaS)

Many of the operational systems businesses use are readily available from third-party vendors. Software as a Service is a way of delivering these applications over the internet. These applications include:

  • Accounting
  • Enterprise Resource Management
  • Payroll
  • Logistics

Using SaaS companies can eliminate the expense of developing custom solutions to handle these functions. With this approach, the cloud provider handles all application management tasks, including access, security, performance, and availability.

Pros of Cloud Computing

Offsite computing offers many advantages over onsite management of application and infrastructure resources. 

Cost

A "utility" pay structure saves companies on equipment costs. It also saves time and money when building a new application or prototype.

Insight

Many offsite storage solutions offer advanced functions such as analytics and Business Intelligence. Using these tools can give you customized insights into your business data.

Security

A recent survey found that 94 percent of businesses saw an improvement in security after switching to the cloud. With internet-based services, companies won't need to keep up with security updates. The vendor handles those tasks to keep data protected from unauthorized access.

Disaster Recovery

According to IBM, hardware failures do not result in data loss because of networked backups. Using remote services allows for quick data recovery for any emergency scenario.

Innovation

Without the burden of managing infrastructure and services, companies can increase speed to market with new products, features, and improvements. Companies can quickly provision an application while lowering operating costs and making the most of developer time.

Accessibility

Internet-based applications are available from any device with an internet connection. This feature offers convenient access to systems for employees who travel, remote employees, or freelancers. 

Scalability

Given the on-demand nature of the service, companies can scale up or down as their needs change.

Collaboration

Using remote computing services makes collaboration simple. Staff can securely share information over the internet from any internet-connected device.

Storage Options

Companies have a variety of storage options when using this service. Many vendors offer public, private, or hybrid storage. Users can also select from a host of prebuilt tools to manage their storage

Disadvantages of Cloud Computing

The most notable disadvantage of using remote computing services is availability. These services require your business to have an internet connection. If the internet connection goes down, access to your services will be disconnected. 

Risk of Data Confidentiality

Another point of concern is security. Although vendors do a good job of managing security, there are still concerns to evaluate. Because the data is available over the internet, there is greater exposure to hackers and an increased risk of data compromise.

Vendor Lock-In

Companies may run into complications when attempting to migrate to a different vendor. The new vendor may use a different platform that may cause issues during migration. 

Slower Backup and Restoration

Backing up data through the internet can cause significant latency issues. Backups and restores may take longer than with an in-house solution. 

Technical Support

Companies inherently lose control over being able to manage some technical features with this service. Companies will need to call customer support to handle issues they may face. The vendor's Service Level Agreement (SLA) should outline response times for support. However, sometimes vendors charge extra for priority support.

How Xplenty Can Help

Moving to a cloud-based infrastructure offers significant cost savings on infrastructure. It is an approach that helps companies remain flexible and agile in responding to changing market conditions. 

The Xplenty data integration platform enables users to harness the power of cloud computing. With hundreds of pre-built integrations to popular SaaS applications, companies can integrate their systems for enhanced insight into critical company data. Contact us for a demo and risk-free trial.