What is Cloud Computing?

Everyone in business is talking about the Cloud. But despite its popularity, it is a challenge for vendors to provide a clear-cut definition of the Cloud considering its different characteristics and deployment models.

The main characteristic of Cloud Computing is the ability to provide on-demand multiple access to shared and scalable hardware and software resources. The National institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) defines the cloud as follows:

“Cloud computing is a model for enabling ubiquitous, convenient, on-demand network access to a shared pool of configurable computing resources (e.g., networks, servers, storage, applications, and services) that can be rapidly provisioned and released with minimal management effort or service provider interaction.”

An example is an email service such as Outlook or Gmail. These are cloud applications hosted remotely and accessed through any device with an Internet connection. Such applications are shared by millions of users. Each user can configure settings in the cloud and the configuration is implemented across all their devices. These types of applications are referred to as SAAS (software as a service), running on an IAAS (infrastructure as a service). The “as a service” model refers to running these applications over the Internet.

Cloud implementation

Cloud implementation models fall under these three main categories:

Public Cloud: A service provider offers servers, applications and storage usually as a pay per user model. The hosting is done remotely in a data center.

Private Cloud: This refers to a Cloud infrastructure being owned and operated by one organisation and hosted on its premises.

Hybrid Cloud: As the name implies, the Hybrid Cloud combines both Public and Private Clouds. One scenario of Hybrid Cloud implementation is hosting critical data onsite with the option of scaling to a Public cloud during traffic spikes.


Benefits of Cloud Computing:

Progressive businesses understand that leveraging the Cloud allows them to:

Reduce costs and free up resources:
Businesses can replace capital expenditure on IT infrastructure with predictable monthly payments and allow IT personnel to focus on profit generating projects rather than maintenance tasks.

Ensure Seamless growth:
Cloud infrastructure is elastic with extensive range of hardware and software resources to accommodate any expansion quickly.

Customise IT environment:
The cloud is a highly-customisable environment which is quickly and efficiently adaptable as business needs change.

Deploy and test applications quickly:
Cloud servers make it fast and easy to build, test, deploy and scale applications.

Utilise the latest technology:
Cloud infrastructure is continuously monitored and regularly undergoes security assessments and software updates.

Backup data:
Cloud backup is completely automated with flexible storage that grows with your business. Cloud backups are accessible 24/7 from anywhere.

Access Support:
Managed Cloud Solutions mean that the provider ensures availability with regular maintenance and support.

Answers to common Cloud Computing concerns:

1- Possible Downtime:

No business can afford downtime, and hosting remotely does not increase downtime probability beyond the existing risks of hosting onsite (electricity outages, natural disasters, theft, etc.…). For peace of mind choose a Cloud provider that offers uptime guarantees and a fallback option.

2- Security:

Reliable Cloud Computing vendors have the resources that allow them to offer advanced data security systems. Data centers also have very strict guidelines and policies for physical access to their sites. The average small business will find it hard to match this level of security.

3- Cost:

While one advantage of Cloud computing is being able to pay for resources as you use them, some businesses prefer a predictable payment to avoid surprise bills and hidden costs. To overcome this, businesses can approach vendors that offer a fixed cost service with the option to scale up usage when required.

Contact Interlinked for a free consultation which outlines the benefits of Cloud Computing to your particular business.