Cloud Computing Services
The term “cloud services” refers to a wide range of services delivered on demand to companies and customers over the internet. These services are designed to provide easy, affordable access to applications and resources, without the need for internal infrastructure or hardware. From checking email to collaborating on documents, most employees use cloud services throughout the workday, whether they’re aware of it or not.
How do cloud services work?
Cloud services are fully managed by cloud computing vendors and service providers. They’re made available to customers from the providers’ servers, so there’s no need for a company to host the applications on its own on-premises servers.
What are the benefits of cloud services?
Key advantages of using cloud services include:
The ability to scale
Because the cloud service provider supplies all necessary infrastructure and software, there’s no need for a company to invest in its own resources or allocate extra IT staff to manage the service. This, in turn, makes it easy for the business to scale the solution as user needs change—whether that means increasing the number of licenses to accommodate a growing workforce or expanding and enhancing the applications themselves.
Many cloud services are provided on a monthly or annual subscription basis, eliminating the need to pay for on-premises software licenses. This allows organizations to access software, storage and other services without having to invest in the underlying infrastructure or handle maintenance and upgrades.
With cloud services, companies can procure services on an on-demand, as-needed basis. If and when there’s no longer a need for a particular application or platform, the business can simply cancel the subscription or shut down the service.
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What types of cloud services are there?
What types of cloud services are there?
Generally speaking, there are three basic types of cloud services:
Software as a Service (SaaS)
The most widely recognized type of cloud service is known as software as a service, or SaaS. This broad category encompasses a variety of services, such as file storage and backup, web-based email and project management tools.
Examples of SaaS cloud service providers include Dropbox, G Suite, Microsoft Office 365, Slack and Citrix Content Collaboration. In each of these applications, users can access, share, store and secure information in “the cloud.”
Infrastructure as a Service (IaaS)
Infrastructure as a service, or IaaS, provides the infrastructure that many cloud service providers need to manage SaaS tools—but don’t want to maintain themselves. It serves as the complete data center framework, eliminating the need for resource-intensive, on-site installations.
Examples of IaaS are Amazon Web Services (AWS), Microsoft Azure and Google Compute Engine. These providers maintain all storage servers and networking hardware, and may also offer load balancing, application firewalls and more. Many well-known SaaS providers run on IaaS platforms.
Platform as a Service (PaaS)
The cloud service model known as platform as a service, or PaaS, serves as a web-based environment where developers can build cloud apps. PaaS provides a database, operating system and programming language that organizations can use to develop cloud-based software, without having to maintain the underlying elements.
Many IaaS vendors, including the examples listed above, also offer PaaS capabilities.
How are cloud services delivered?
When deciding how to leverage cloud services, organizations must also decide which type of environment works best for the business: public cloud, private cloud or a mix of both.
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