If you feel silly for not understanding the concept of cloud computing, you’re not alone. We’re not here to make you feel bad. Rather the exact opposite. We’re here to explain, in very straightforward, simple, and in non-techy terms, what cloud computing is and how it impacts the work we do today. You may be using the cloud and not even be aware of it!
Think of the cloud as an invisible filing cabinet. You save all your files stored on the computer in this independent and hidden filing cabinet. A real-world, and very prevalent, example of cloud computing is Microsoft’s OneDrive.
Just like with OneDrive, if you have Internet connectivity, you can access your information in the cloud from anywhere. You don’t need to worry about losing the information stored in the cloud because it’s housed externally, yet can still be accessed whenever you need it.
Why Businesses are Choosing the Cloud
One reason companies prefer cloud services is because of lower IT infrastructure costs. It generally costs less than purchasing and maintaining physical IT equipment onsite that stores your data and information. In fact, companies can save an average of 15 percent on all IT costs by migrating to the cloud.
Cloud storage is also incredibly flexible and has unlimited scalability. You can rapidly scale your business up or down depending on user and market requirements. For example, you can expand bandwidth if you’ve hired more staff to jump-start growth and take your organization to the next level. Or, conversely, if the tough decision is made to scale the business down to manage a crisis, that can also be done quickly and effortlessly as well.
Furthermore, the risks of unpredictable events, like a flood or fire in the office, are significantly reduced. Since the files and data aren’t physically stored in the workplace, the information can’t be destroyed by these outages or disastrous events because it’s stored offsite.
There are three main types of clouds, and each of them is different in terms of where they’re located and who runs them so let’s get into more specifics.
Public Cloud Computing
The public cloud is not owned by the user and is instead owned and managed by an external third-party company that shares the infrastructure with other companies. The biggest names in the public cloud industry include Amazon Web Services (AWS), Oracle Cloud, Google Cloud, and the one our team uses most, Microsoft Azure.
Since public clouds are managed by a third party, you don’t need to worry about maintaining them. There are no capital investments because typically public clouds are a pay-as-you-go payment structure. You are charged generally monthly, and you’re only charged for the storage or resources that you use.
Private Cloud Computing
As you probably guessed, a private cloud is the opposite of a public cloud. It’s again, offered through the Internet and has all the same capabilities, except it is available only for the few users who are on your private internal network. It’s your very own cloud just for your company. A private cloud offers the same flexibility and scalability as a public cloud, but it also offers additional security, control, and customization because it’s suited exactly for your unique business.
While you don’t have to pay a third party to manage a private cloud, you are responsible for maintaining and updating the system as needed at your own cost. You are the sole owner of the private cloud, so additional IT resources are needed in-house to ensure effective management and maintenance of it.
Hybrid Cloud Computing
The hybrid cloud is a combination of a public and private cloud. If you can’t choose between private or public, then you go with a hybrid setup. Hybrid cloud computing is increasingly becoming the most popular choice in cloud services. A 2020 study polled 250 organizations across the Asia Pacific, Europe, Middle East & Africa, and North America, and found that hybrid cloud computing deployments account for 42% of configurations, followed by public cloud (18%) and private cloud (17%).
While the hybrid cloud can be more complex to manage and set up, it gives you the potential for a higher level of security and more flexibility than the other solutions because you can move data and information between the two public and private clouds.
The type of cloud you choose to implement entirely depends on your company. Aspects like workload, budget, privacy, and security requirements, along with the amount of control you want, all play a key role in deciding what’s best for your business. If you’re not sure what’s best for your company, talk to one of our cloud experts in our managed services department to dive deeper into cloud computing, and the solutions we offer (like Microsoft Azure) that support it.