What is Cloud Computing?
Table of contents
- What is Cloud Computing?
- What are the Different Types of Cloud Computing Services?
- What are the Types of Deployment Models in Cloud Computing?
- Instances of Cloud Computing
- Operational Examples of Cloud Computing
- How Different it is from Traditional Computing
- What are the KPIs in the Cloud?
- What are the Benefits of Cloud Computing?
- What are the Services Provided by Cloud Computing?
- Why is Cloud Security Important?
- What are the Significant Cloud Security Challenges?
- What Types of Cloud Security Solutions are Available?
- How Should You Approach Cloud Security?
What is Cloud Computing and How Does it Work?
Cloud is one of the most significant paradigm shifts that has helped mankind progress in their digital journey. Providing fully managed services through the internet is called “cloud computing“. Infrastructure as a Service (IaaS), Platform as a Service (PaaS), and Software as a Service (SaaS) are the three primary categories or kinds of cloud computing under which these services fall.
A cloud can be public, hybrid or private. With specific access and authorization settings, a private cloud is a proprietary network or data center that offers hosted services to a small group of users. Cloud computing’s objective, private or public, is to offer simple, scalable access to computer resources and IT services.
The hardware and software elements required for a cloud computing model’s correct execution are included in the cloud infrastructure. Utility computing and on-demand computing are other terms for cloud computing. The ‘cloud’ icon, frequently used to symbolize the internet in flowcharts and diagrams, served as the inspiration for the name cloud computing.
While the future of cloud computing is up in there, three main cloud providers are shaping the cloud computing trends. Amazon Web Services is the global leader with its most significant cloud footprint, followed by Microsoft’s Azure and Google Cloud Provider. These three are the biggest cloud providers in the current market right now. Let’s understand the concept of cloud computing and how this technology works.
In the age of interconnectivity, collaboration is the key. The cloud enables clients to access data and cloud applications from distant physical servers, databases, and computers over the internet. These distant servers are hosted by cloud providers such as Amazon or Microsoft.
The front end involves accessing the client device, browser, network, and cloud software applications. The back end, which consists of databases, servers, and computers, is connected via an internet network. The back end serves as a repository, holding the information that the front end may access.
A central server controls communications between the front and back ends. The central server uses protocols to speed up data sharing and governs the cloud migration optimization. The central server uses software and middleware to control communication between client devices and cloud servers. Usually, each specific application or task has its dedicated server. As the cloud has evolved, different types of cloud offerings have emerged. Let’s have a look at the variants of cloud offerings.
What are the Different Types of Cloud Computing Services?
There are numerous offerings when it comes to cloud computing. Here, we shall list the most used cloud services.
- Infrastructure as a Service (IaaS): Application programming interfaces (APIs) are provided by IaaS providers, such as Amazon Web Services (AWS), to enable customers to move workloads to virtual machines (VM). Users are given a certain amount of storage space and are free to start, stop, access, and modify the virtual machine and storage as needed. For different workload requirements, IaaS providers provide small, medium, big, extra-large, and memory- or compute-optimized instances in addition to providing instance customization. The IaaS cloud model is like a remote data center for commercial customers.
- Platform as a Service: PaaS allows MSPs to provide a development platform to their clients. Here, they host the required tools and environments desired by their clients. Users may access these tools online using APIs, web portals, or gateway software. PaaS is utilized to create all types of software, and several PaaS service providers host the finished product.
- Software as a Service: Software as a service (SaaS) is a method of distributing programs via the internet; these programs are sometimes referred to as web services. Users can use an internet-enabled PC or mobile device to access SaaS apps and services anywhere. In addition, users get access to databases and application software under the SaaS model. The productivity and email capabilities provided by Microsoft 365 are typical examples of SaaS applications.
- Serverless Computing: Some people might find the phrase “serverless” to be a bit perplexing, but it doesn’t mean that your code must run without a server. The goal is to create and operate apps without handling server management. Simply said, users are not required to participate in server maintenance. Enterprises don’t have to worry about serverless architecture’s underlying infrastructure. As the cloud vendor handles the back-end services, serverless configuration eliminates several hassles, including maintenance and capacity issues. This allows the business to concentrate its efforts elsewhere.
- Multi-Cloud Computing: In contrast to hybrid cloud, which combines an on-premises private cloud with public cloud services from third parties, multi-cloud is a mix-and-match arrangement of cloud services from various service providers tailored to particular workload requirements. In other words, a multi-cloud is a hybrid cloud that utilizes several different public cloud infrastructures.Multiple strategic advantages are possible with a multi-cloud approach. Businesses relying on one cloud service provider may experience challenges like cloud data center outages or bandwidth problems, which might hurt their operations and even cause them to lose clients. This is especially true when some of their essential apps are involved. Utilizing a variety of cloud services guarantees that the risk of downtime and data loss is minimized even if one or more software, hardware, network, etc., components fail. A multi-cloud approach also gives businesses the adaptability to particularly meet the varying needs of the many business operations, teams, and departments.
- Everything as a Service: The service, which is also called XaaS, is one of the upcoming cloud offerings. Organizations worldwide utilize XaaS, also known as anything-as-a-service, a cloud computing service, to create and introduce products of any size and scope. The infrastructure includes several IT applications, items, and devices connected to remote access and cloud infrastructures. In a word, service is the transformation of any functionality. Organizations are gravitating more and more toward the XaaS model because of its flexibility in terms of price and output.
Organizations that serve millions of clients are increasingly utilizing XaaS. These businesses may be the ones whose web browsers and app stores must constantly be accessible online. Users of XaaS-integrated businesses, therefore, frequently experience a fluid workplace because everything is easily accessible on their browser or app.
What are the Types of Deployment Models in Cloud Computing?
As one can expect, there are different deployment models in the cloud. Let’s dig in:
- Public Cloud: In the public cloud model, the cloud service is delivered online by a third-party cloud service provider (CSP). Although many services are accessible with long-term commitments, public cloud services are often supplied on demand and by the minute or hour. Only the central processing unit cycles, storage, or bandwidth that customers use are charged to them. Leading public CSPs include IBM, Oracle, Tencent, AWS, Microsoft Azure, and Google Cloud Platform (GCP).
- Private Cloud:Internal users receive private cloud services from a company’s data center. An organization creates and manages its underpinning cloud infrastructure using a private cloud. This architecture keeps the administration, and security control common to local data centers while delivering the flexibility and convenience of the cloud. VMware and OpenStack are standard private cloud technologies and providers.
- Hybrid Cloud: A hybrid cloud combines on-premises private cloud infrastructure with public cloud services, orchestrating and automating operations across the two. Companies can use the public cloud to accommodate workload surges or demand spikes while running mission-critical workloads or sensitive applications on the private cloud. The objective of a hybrid cloud is to provide a unified, automated, scalable environment that makes the most of public cloud infrastructure while keeping mission-critical data under your control.
- Cloud Disaster Recovery Enabled Services: Now and then, unforeseen circumstances bring a company to its knees. Natural disasters are one of those circumstanceswhich can bring forth such results. To ensure such a thing doesn’t happen, clients are roping in MSPs who provide cloud disaster recovery services.
- Multi-Cloud:Companies can respond mainly to the varying needs of their various business activities, teams, and departments thanks to a multi-cloud approach. These can include the cloud’s security, privacy, performance, or geographic reach. Multiple strategic advantages are possible with a multi-cloud approach. Businesses that rely only on one cloud service provider may experience challenges like cloud data center outages or bandwidth problems, which might hurt their operations and even cause them to lose clients. This is especially true when some of their essential apps are involved. Utilizing a variety of cloud services guarantees that the risk of downtime and data loss is minimized even if one or more software, hardware, network, etc., components fail. However, multi-cloud installations should become more straightforward as providers’ services and APIs converge and become more standardized through industry initiatives like the Open Cloud Computing Interface.
- Community Cloud: A community cloud, which several enterprises use, serves a specific community that has similar goals, policies, security needs, and compliance requirements. A community cloud may be on or off premises and is either maintained by these companies or a different provider.
Instances of Cloud Computing
The capabilities and offers of cloud computing have expanded and changed throughout time, now covering practically every imaginable corporate requirement. The following are some examples of the diversity and capabilities of cloud computing.
- Microsoft 365: Microsoft 365 is both accessible online. Because they can access work spreadsheets and presentations that are saved in the cloud at any time, from any location, on any device, users may be more productive.
- Communication tools such as Skype, iMessage, and Email: Emails, Skype, and iMessage use the cloud’s capacity to provide users remote access to data so that they may access their private information on any device, anytime they want, from any location.
- Conferencing tools such as Zoom and Teams: Post-pandemic, Zoom, and Microsoft Teams are in great demand as remote working conditions have spurred their usage. Both of them are cloud-based tools that facilitate audio and video calls. Microsoft Teams comes with the added benefit of a seamless chatting experience that provides the user with the additional capabilities to securely share files and data in various formats.
- Lambda: Developers may execute code for apps or back-end services using Lambda without having to set up or maintain servers. The pay-as-you-go concept adapts to an organization’s changing data storage and consumption needs in real-time. Serverless computing capabilities are also supported by other significant cloud providers, including Azure Functions and Google Cloud Functions.
Operational Examples of Cloud Computing
To say that cloud is only used for computing is a gross mistake. Cloud is used for a variety of purposes, and let’s have a look at it.
- Testing and Creation: Timelines and milestones can be accelerated using pre-made, customized settings.
- Hosting: Businesses host real production workloads in the public cloud. To provide a suitable operating environment for the workload and its required level of resilience, meticulous planning, development, and architecture of cloud resources and services are required.
- Analytics: Cloud storage’s remote data centers are scalable, adaptable, and may offer priceless data-driven insights. Big data projects may use services from major cloud providers like Amazon EMR and Google Cloud Dataproc.
- Development and Storage: IaaS gives businesses access to scalable computation, storage, and network capabilities while hosting IT infrastructures. Pay-as-you-go models can assist businesses in reducing initial IT expenses. PaaS may assist businesses in creating, running, and managing applications in a more straightforward, more adaptable manner at a cheaper cost than maintaining a platform on-site. PaaS services offer higher-level programming and can speed up application development. The ability to store and retrieve large volumes of data remotely exists. Customers are only required to pay for the storage they really utilize.
- Flexible Usage: Depending on the situation, businesses can utilize either a private cloud or a public cloud to maximize cost and efficiency for various workloads and applications. The best cloud service for various workloads with particular criteria may be found by subscribers by comparing many cloud services from various cloud providers.
- Backup: In general, cloud backup systems are simpler to use. Users do not need to be concerned about capacity or availability, and the cloud provider handles data security. Also, disaster recovery is another aspect that the cloud is used for. Recovery times are quicker with cloud than conventional on-premises DR. Additionally, the prices are reduced.
How Different it is from Traditional Computing
There has been some misunderstanding between cloud computing and essential applications, including web hosting, due to the public cloud’s wide variety of services and capabilities.
Although hosting websites on the public cloud is expected, the two are very different.
Three distinctive qualities set a cloud service apart from conventional web hosting:
- Large quantities of processing power are available to users on demand. Usually, it is offered for sale by the minute or the hour.
- Thanks to its elastic nature, users can have as much or as little of a service as they want at any particular time.
- The customer requires a personal computer and internet connectivity because the supplier controls the service entirely. The development of distributed computing and virtualization and easier access to high-speed internet has significantly increased interest in cloud computing.
What are the KPIs in the Cloud?
Key Performance Indicators (KPIs) are the metrics every company needs to measure its cloud success. But, KPIs fail to propel the company to success if they don’t consider the change. The KPIs should be dynamic and ever-evolving since the digital environment is constantly changing. So, let’s dig into the KPIs.
- Generic KPIs: Avoid relying on digital KPIs that are too general. Since every firm has different business goals, the KPIs should share this spirit and be distinctive. For instance, while some businesses attempt to implement new digital models, others focus on digitizing the current business models. These goals each need a unique set of KPIs and measurements. As a result, firms should create their KPIs before defining their business objectives. The appropriate set of KPIs may then direct the appropriate digital journey.
- Adoption KPI: The amount of money invested in developing or purchasing the technology is a common way for businesses to measure their DX success. Without a doubt, that is the incorrect metric. It is safe to assume that technology by itself does not provide value to businesses. The business value can be realized only once the technology has been appropriately integrated into all workflows and processes. As a result, companies need to use technology adoption as a statistic.
- Revenue KPI: To gauge the future success of their businesses, many companies concentrate on income and expense. However, the potential rewards of a successful digital transition go beyond income and expense. DX’s most important effects are high customer satisfaction, smooth corporate operations, and decreased risk. Businesses must thus link these results to the KPIs they have chosen rather than focusing just on revenue and cost.
- Saturation KPI: Frequently, businesses believe that the digital transformation process is all about digitalizing their whole business model. A balancing point in one’s digital path should be found. Overshooting the ideal amount may have a detrimental effect on the entire client experience. For instance, performing all client contacts practically through digital channels or overly digitizing operations may have unfavorable effects. One problem among many is low consumer involvement. CTOs and CIOs must thus identify the right amount of digitization for both consumers and staff.
But as alluded, KPIs should never be constant. The digital KPIs should also continually change in line with the digital environment. Therefore, KPIs shouldn’t be kept constant permanently. Organizations must continually update their KPI to keep up with shifting business objectives. Regularly assess the chosen KPIs’ applicability and adjust them as necessary. Firms must develop the appropriate KPIs and indicators to thrive in their digital business journeys. Ensure the KPIs’ function and organization reflect the shifting corporate objectives and technological advancements. More importantly, avoid naively adopting KPIs established by other businesses or earlier organizations.
Useful link: 6 Cloud Trends Which Shall Dominate
What are the Benefits of Cloud Computing?
Cloud computing has been around for a while, and the cloud computing infrastructure of today exhibits a variety of traits that have had a significant positive impact on enterprises of all sorts.
The following are some of the properties of cloud computing:
- Provisioning: End users may instantly fire up computing resources for virtually any job. End users now can supply computing resources such as server time and network storage, doing away with the requirement for IT administrators to traditionally provision and manage computing resources.
- Scalability: Companies can scale up as computing needs rise and down again as needs fall. As a result, there is no longer a need to make substantial expenditures on local infrastructure that may or may not stay functional.
- Expense: Clouds are giving a pay-per-use model to their clients. This means that the clients have to pay for the resources used alone. This is a significant savings mechanism as they don’t have to take on resources they don’t need.
- Robustness: MSPs often implement redundant resources to ensure resilient storage and to keep users’ critical workloads running — often across multiple global regions.
- Flexibility: For improved cost savings or to take advantage of new services as they become available, organizations can shift specific workloads to or from the cloud — or to other cloud platforms – as requested or automatically.
- Sturdy and Limitless Network: Anywhere with an internet connection, a user may view cloud data or submit the data to the cloud using any device. The same data can be used or accessed by any device from any corner of the world.
- Compatibility: Multiple clients can share the same physical infrastructures or applications thanks to multi-tenancy while also protecting the privacy and security of their data. Cloud service providers may serve several clients using the same physical resources through resource pooling. The cloud providers’ resource pools have to be sizable and adaptable enough to accommodate the needs of several clients.
- Management: Utilizing cloud infrastructure allows businesses to save money on capital expenses by avoiding the high cost of purchasing and maintaining equipment. Because companies don’t need to invest in hardware, buildings, utilities, or the construction of massive data centers to meet their expanding operations, this lowers their capital expenditure expenditures. Additionally, because they can depend on the experience of the teams at their cloud providers, they don’t require sizable IT teams to manage cloud data center operations. Additionally, downtime expenses are reduced via cloud computing. Because downtime is so seldom with cloud computing, businesses don’t have to spend time or money resolving potential downtime-related problems.
- Ease of Access: Users who save information in the cloud may access it using any device and internet-connected location. Users no longer need to carry many CDs, USB devices, or external hard drives to access their data. Smartphones and other mobile devices may be used to access company data, allowing distant employees to keep in touch with coworkers and clients. The cloud makes it simple for end users to process, store, retrieve, and restore resources. Additionally, cloud suppliers immediately supply all upgrades and updates, saving time and effort.
- Seamlessness and Resilience: Data loss is a concern for all businesses. Users can always access their data by storing it in the cloud, even if their devices, such as laptops or smartphones, aren’t working. With cloud-based services, businesses may quickly restore their data during calamities like power outages or natural disasters. This is advantageous to BCDR and ensures that workloads and data remain accessible even in the event of damage or disruption to the organization.
What are the Services Provided by Cloud Computing?
The most secure, adaptable, and dependable cloud services are offered by Amazon, Microsoft, and Google, which dominate the public cloud market. Customers can access various storage, computation, and networking choices through AWS, Azure, and GCP’s respective cloud platforms. In terms of capability and maturity, AWS is now far more extensive than both Azure and GCP. The other two likewise develop more quickly to demonstrate their superiority in the market. Let’s dig into each of the cloud services.
Amazon Web Services (AWS)
Amazon, a leader in cloud computing, entered the market for cloud services over ten years ago and continues to dominate in terms of both the number of products and users, with AWS being the industry standard for cloud service quality.
The Infrastructure as a Service (IaaS) products and services that AWS provides fall under the following categories: computing, databases, content delivery and storage, and networking. Using serverless technologies like Amazon Kinesis Streams, Amazon SQS Queues, and AWS Lambda Functions, AWS allows a seamless and adaptable data collecting pipeline. In addition, it gives businesses a choice to select, among other things, the operating system, database, and programming languages that best suit their needs.
Utilizing AWS management tools like AWS CloudTrail and Amazon CloudWatch for tracking user activity and AWS Config for controlling resource inventory and modifications, it is possible to keep tabs on how much of a cloud infrastructure’s resources are being used.
AWS significantly improves an organization’s efficiency and business expansion. However, the complicated infrastructure and service constraints configured by default to meet the demands of typical users are a couple of the downsides of AWS. The largest of the three cloud service providers, Amazon has data centers spread throughout 84 different areas of the globe.
Microsoft’s vast network of data centers may be used to create, deploy, and administer a wide range of services and applications. Compute, networking, data management, databases, and performance are all included in Azure’s capabilities.
Organizations of all sizes may organize site-to-site replication and data recovery to virtual machines (VMs) hosted on Azure by using Azure Site Recovery. Additionally, Azure provides Zone Redundant Storage (ZRS), which is redundant data storage across many data center regions. Through a private link instead of the internet, Azure ExpressRoute makes it possible for the data center to connect to Azure, offering more security, excellent dependability, and reduced latency.
Google Cloud Platform is a compelling alternative to AWS and Azure because of its user-friendly UI, reduced rates, preemptible instances, and configurable computing options. All data and communication routes, including the traffic between data centers, are fully encrypted by Google.
Google Cloud and AWS battle fiercely in several areas, including machine learning, cost-effectiveness, privacy, traffic security, and instance and payment configuration. For a commitment of one to three years, all three cloud providers provide discounts of up to 75%. Google, however, also provides a sustained use discount of up to 30% on each instance type operating for more than 25% every month.
GCP’s credit of USD 300 for 12 months paired with a free tier that isn’t time-limited matches AWS’ 1-year free trial. The credit approach for GCP is better suited for businesses just starting to use cloud services. Google provides several pre-built APIs for translation, natural language processing, and computer vision. In addition, machine learning developers use the open-source TensorFlow deep learning framework to create models for Google’s Cloud Machine Learning Engine.
Cloud Computing Security
The contemporary solutions unintentionally planted the seeds for cloud security issues. Unexpected issues have emerged as a result of the accessibility. The cloud-hosted solutions were accessible to anybody with the necessary credentials.
Why is Cloud Security Important?
As threat actors infiltrate and attack businesses in numerous industries, security events and accidents are occurring at an alarming rate, turning the IT industry into a crime scene. Hacks weren’t widespread, but threat actors began focusing on organizations far more vulnerable to coercion after the epidemic. Businesses worldwide are changing their authentication procedures in response to these instances. However, despite their attempts, not all is okay.
According to a study report by Hypr, a multi-factor authentication (MFA) specialist business, the banking industry still faces challenges despite its desire to thwart these attacks. According to the research, 3.4% of breaches at financial institutions occurred in the United States and Europe last year. Financial institutions such as banks, credit unions, and investment businesses suffered an average loss of USD 2.19 million due to these breaches.These losses, however, do not consider the “intangible and hidden costs” that these instances entailed.
The State of Authentication in the Finance Industry 2022 study paper emphasizes the alarming finding that eight out of ten instances unintentionally assisted the breaches. While the hackers have undoubtedly been sophisticated and skilled, Hypr said that some of the events would have been prevented if the financial organizations hadn’t been overconfident in their current authentication procedures.
What are the Significant Cloud Security Challenges?
According to the company’s 2022 Consumer Identity and Breach Report, unauthorized access accounted for 50% of information breaches in 2021, an increase of 5% from 2020. In addition, it was recognized as the primary vector for breaches.
The study found that the US had the highest average breach cost in the world, at USD 9.5 million, up 16% from USD 8.2 million in 2020. ForgeRock collected data for the research between January 1 and December 31, 2021, from several sources, including the Identity Theft Resource Centre, Forrester Research, and the Ponemon Institute.
What Types of Cloud Security Solutions are Available?
While there are various solutions, MFA and Zero Trust Strategies are picking pace. In addition, identity and Access Management Solutions (IAM) are also created for companies that want customized security solutions.
Zero trust doesn’t always imply mistrust; instead, it suggests that everyone is scrutinized equally, regardless of their roles and responsibilities. The tactical method uses multi-factor authentication (MFA), requiring at least two keys to open one lock. A corporation may breathe easy knowing that its corporate assets are better protected with MFA when a user selects their primary password and a dynamic password is offered at login.
How Should You Approach Cloud Security?
Organizations should understand that there is no universal plan that works for everyone.
Since the business needs of the enterprise determine the implementation and methodology, each zero-trust strategy is distinct. After the plan has been developed, one must ensure it remains relevant in an always-evolving world.
There is a lot more to cloud computing than meets the eye. While most think the cloud only offers storage and pay-as-you-go resources, cloud technology is much more than that, for it ushered in a paradigm shift in our lifestyle and production methodologies. It is commendable how far we have come since the cloud’s inception, but as one may have observed, we are still hurtling through the journey as innovations continue to shape cloud technology.
It is tough to keep up with these innovations, and most do away with these worries by roping in Veritis, the Stevie Award Winner. Internationally renowned for our excellence, Fortune 500 companies and emerging enterprises rely on our expertise to keep things moving. So, tarry not a moment and approach us to harness the power of the cloud.
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