Do the terms cloud computing, co-location and virtualization ring a bell with you? If they don’t, then they very well should. Since technology progresses in our society so rapidly and people become more interconnected as a result, new innovations and changes are being made in information technology (IT) all the time. As business crosses borders, both within the country and internationally, those innovations help to keep the world of business moving and evolving to the benefit of everyone involved.
With the state of the world economy being the way that it is, it’s not surprising that businesses everywhere, both large and small, are trying to do more with less. Firms from all kinds of sectors have looked at ways to keep profit margins growing while cutting costs to their operations and they’ve been able to do just that using relatively new IT solutions that outsource infrastructure and software but allow business owners to retain control of their networks and data.
Look at the some of the recent trends in IT and how they’ve benefitted people who are looking for more cost effective ways to do business. By learning about them, you’ll see what they can do for your company too.
If you’ve ever seen the diagram of the internet drawn as a cloud then you now know where this type of service got its name from.
Cloud Computing is a general term that is applied to several different types of services and can be seen as something of an umbrella term for the concepts that we’ll explore later in this article but, for now, you should be familiar with the ideas of Infrastructure as a Service (IaaS), Platform as a Service (PaaS) and Software as a Service (SaaS) to start you off.
The IaaS aspect of cloud computing is what you would utilize if you wanted to outsource the equipment used to run your computer network. This includes servers, storage equipment and other such hardware. The advantage behind this aspect of the cloud is that the company providing infrastructure as a service is responsible for every hardware related aspect of your business’s computer network, including the maintenance.
You’ve probably heard stories of things like servers failing and other hardware malfunctions that would make your own working life difficult, but IaaS makes it so that you don’t have to worry about these things on your end. Whenever something goes wrong, it’s the responsibility of the hosting company to sort out.
To get an idea of the Software as a Service aspect of Cloud Computing and what it does for many companies, think about this; many times you buy a piece of software for your employees to use.Putting that software to use involves, among other things, taking the time to install it on every machine in your office. That often means purchasing multiple licenses for the same piece of software.
Using SaaS gets rid of all of that.
Regardless of how it is paid for, the software is outsourced, much like what’s been illustrated with the IaaS model of cloud computing.
By licensing the use of software that is digitally distributed to you and your company, you don’t have to worry about time consuming installations, software updates or anything else that traditionally comes with hosting software on your own machines.
Many of the principals related to Software as a service can be extended to platform as a service. The primary difference between the two types of services is the fact that PaaS is primarily used in building and deploying applications without the need for the hardware or software that’s often associated without those applications.
If that sounded confusing to you, don’t worry. In the most basic terms, it simply means PaaS is essentially SaaS except for that fact that platform settings can typically be changed to suit a user’s specific needs or interests, whereas software is more static.
Regardless of the aspects of cloud computing that you decide to use for your organization, you should know that the practice is popular exactly because it fosters things like flexibility, mobility and easy collaboration for the people who use it.
Besides these qualities it has also been proven to cut operating costs and increase efficiency. Think about this scenario: Your team has to meet an important project deadline but the weather has made traveling on the roads dangerous and some of your people have elected to stay home as a result.
By using software as a service, your employees can contribute to the project while working from their homes, allowing you to continue to meet deadlines and work as though the weather weren’t an issue.
This benefit could be extended to employees who may have to travel often or those who have may be away on a business related trip, but serve a crucial function in a project that involves several employees.
By using a service that allows for this kind of freedom of movement, you can easily overcome many obstacles that business owners and their employees often face.