Cloud computing is fast becoming the norm, but what is cloud technology and how does the cloud work? This article answers all your questions about cloud technology including:
- What is cloud technology?
- How does the cloud work?
- What are the types of cloud computing and services?
- What can the cloud be used for?
- What are the benefits of cloud technology?
- Cloud based management for businesses
What is cloud technology?
Cloud technology refers to any computing services delivered over the internet.
These services include:
- Data storage
Without knowing it, you probably use cloud technology every day. Gmail, smartphone backup, streaming services like Netflix — all of these things operate using cloud technology.
How does the cloud work?
Instead of owning the computing infrastructure and data facilities needed to run computing systems, with cloud technology the infrastructure or service is essentially rented from cloud service providers instead.
For instance, instead of on-site data storage facilities storing all your company’s information, it’s hosted by a cloud provider.
A cloud service provider is a company that provides IT services via the cloud. Some of the biggest cloud providers include Microsoft Azure, Google Cloud and AWS.
The cloud allows companies to rent everything from access to apps through to data storage. One of the primary benefits of cloud technology is the ability to change and scale your computing needs as they change.
Types of cloud computing
Public clouds are cloud computing systems hosted by cloud service providers that can be accessed via web browser. In this case all the cloud computing infrastructure is owned by the cloud service provider.
Private clouds, as the name suggests, are owned by a sole business or company and can be located on the company’s on-site data centre or hosted by a cloud service provider on a private network.
A hybrid cloud is a combination of private and public clouds which allows for the sharing of applications and data between the two, making this a more flexible option.
There are four basic types of cloud service: infrastructure as a service (IaaS), platform as a service (PaaS), serverless computing and software as a service (Saas). Most cloud computing services fall into these categories.
- Infrastructure as a service (IaaS)
This involves renting IT infrastructure such as servers, storage, operating systems, virtual machines and networks from a cloud service provider.
- Platform as a service (PaaS)
This is an on-demand cloud computing services environment for software applications, where developers can develop, test, manage and deliver software without having to set up the required infrastructure.
- Serverless computing
With serverless computing the cloud provider manages the servers and infrastructure leaving the user free to focus on building app functionality without being weighed down by managing the required infrastructure.
- Software as a service (SaaS)
Software as a service involves software applications essentially being available for subscription or on-demand usage. All the maintenance, updates and security are handled by the cloud provider while the subscriber accesses the software over the internet.
What is cloud technology used for?
Cloud technology has a range of uses. Essentially most things that can be done with traditional computing can be done with cloud technology, with enhanced access and scalability.
Cloud technology can be used for:
Application creation and testing
The scalability of cloud technology reduces the cost and time needed to develop, test and launch applications.
Data storage, backup and recovery
Cloud systems use the latest data security and encryption technologies to keep your data secure, including redundancies to protect against data loss.
Using the cloud information can be stored from locations across the globe and analysed en masse using things like artificial intelligence and machine learning.
Audiences can access video and audio from anywhere in the world with cloud based storage.
Software on demand
With cloud technology you can access the latest versions of software without needing to physically install it on your computer. The software can be accessed from anywhere as needed and on demand (this is also called SaaS).
Benefits of cloud computing
Cloud computing comes with a wide range of benefits including flexibility and the ability to adapt quickly to innovation and new technologies. Some of the main benefits of cloud computing include:
Reduced operational costs
Instead of purchasing expensive IT equipment and software, setting up data centres, paying for running costs like electricity and cooling, employing or hiring IT experts to manage it all, with cloud computing everything is off-site and essentially rented on a needs basis.
Flexibility and the ability to easily scale operations is one of the chief benefits of cloud computing. This means the optimal IT resources can be used as needed, such as bandwidth, storage or power.
Reduced maintenance and increased productivity
Cloud computing takes away the need for time consuming on-site data maintenance, meaning your IT team can focus on more important tasks that matter to your business instead of spending that time on data centre care.
Reliability and performance
The worldwide network of secure data centres used by cloud services are regularly upgraded to the latest hardware and software, meaning they’re always as fast and efficient as possible. This means reduced network latency when compared to a single on-site corporate data centre.
Reputable cloud providers have a number of policies, controls and technologies in place to strengthen their data security. Read more about cloud based data security.
Cloud based management systems for businesses
A cloud based management system is any kind of business management system which utilises the cloud for data storage and software management. Common uses for cloud based management systems include:
- Quality management
- Information security management
- Business continuity management
- Health & safety management
- Environmental management
- Food safety management
- Asset inventory management
- Data analysis and reporting
- Access control
- Workflow automation
- Assert inventory control
Cloud based management systems allow for greater consistency and control across large scale businesses along with all the associated benefits of cloud computing.
MANGO cloud based management
Mango is a cloud based management solution for businesses of all sizes and industries. Mango offers an integrated solution for all your Quality, Health, Safety & Environmental Management (QHSE) system requirements.
Some of Mango’s time and money saving features include:
- Asset record-keeping
- Root cause analysis
- Document management
- Custom audit forms
- Inspection scheduling
- Auditor reminders
- Compliance features including reports and legal register creation
- A dashboard which allows for real-time incident viewing
- Human resource module
- Mobile app for Android and iOS
Mango’s auditing, compliance and event scheduling features along with its simple, user friendly interface make it a must-have for all businesses who want to increase their efficiency and ensure their QHSE compliance.
Read more about how Mango can reduce your business costs.