Types of Cloud Services

Are you thinking of moving to cloud services?

Companies worldwide are increasingly switching to cloud services such as Google Drive, which currently has over 1 billion users.

The type of cloud services that’s right for you depends on your company’s requirements and your unique situation.

In this post, we explain the different types of cloud services, share the benefits they offer and provide a checklist to help you choose the right one.

Let’s begin with a quick introduction into cloud computing, to get started.

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What is Cloud Computing?

Cloud computing is an online technology that delivers computing services via the Internet or the cloud. It allows you to store and manage your data online instead of locally on your computer.

A cloud consists of servers located in data centers across the world.

A simple example of cloud computing is Google Docs or Microsoft Office.

There are different types of cloud computing based on the platform’s setup and who has access to it. Below are the main types of cloud computing:

Private Cloud

Private clouds refer to infrastructure that is owned and managed by a single organization. This means that your organization isn’t sharing any of the resources with other companies or users. Your company is the only organization that has access to the platform and software via your internal infrastructure.

To use a private cloud, you can either create one or use third-party providers.

This cloud solution model is quite expensive but also very secure as it is not shared with other businesses. It can also be customized to suit your organization’s requirements.

Public Cloud

Public clouds are the opposite of private: they are shared with other organizations and accessible to anyone who requires the services. With public clouds, your data is stored on remote servers owned by third-parties.

Public clouds offer a lot of space and are cost-effective, which makes them ideal for companies looking to scale their businesses without jeopardizing their budget.

Given that public cloud solutions are accessible to anyone who signs up to use their services, they are a bit less secure compared to private clouds.

Hybrid Cloud

Hybrid clouds are a combination of private and public cloud solutions. This allows your company to tailor a cloud service provider that suits your specific needs.

For example, this often means you will be using a public cloud for some services while storing your sensitive data on a private cloud.

This type of cloud service is more secure compared to public clouds.

What are Cloud Services?

Cloud services are services provided via infrastructure, software and platforms hosted by third parties and made available to users via the internet.

The purpose of cloud services is to provide access to resources such as applications, without the need to store the platforms internally or use any hardware.

These services are managed and hosted by service providers. They handle the infrastructure/hardware, data storage and network, while you simply access these online.

Companies across the globe use cloud services for day-to-day business processes, from emails to calendars, daily reports, etc.

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Types of Cloud Computing Services

Cloud computing services is a broad term and includes different types, based on the needs of the end-user or in this case, your company. In a way, it’s similar to outsourcing where you partner with a third-party that stores and handles your data.

These are the main three cloud service types:

Infrastructure-as-a-Service

Infrastructure-as-a-Service (IaaS) is the most common type of cloud services and provides and manages the infrastructure (servers, networks, data storage) via the Internet.

With this type of cloud service, the service provider takes care of all the hardware servers, data storage, etc. You are basically renting the resources but you can access your data via dashboard and have complete control over your system.

This type of cloud service can be configured for private, public or hybrid clouds. It’s a cost-efficient solution since there is no on-site physical infrastructure.

Platform-as-a-Service

Platform-as-a-Service (PaaS) provides you with a framework for developing your own applications. PaaS provides the components (infrastructure and software framework) so you can develop your own apps quickly and more easily.

With this type of cloud computing service, you can build, test and manage your applications but you don’t need to set up or maintain any infrastructure.

Since PaaS provides a shared cloud platform for app development, it’s ideal for developers working on the same projects.

Software-as-a-Service

Software-as-a-Service (SaaS) is when a cloud service provider deploys a software stored on their servers and makes it available to users on the internet. With this type of cloud service, users/subscribers can access the software via Application Programming Interface (API) or a dashboard.

When you subscribe to a SaaS, each of your team members can sign up with their unique username and password via a web browser such as Chrome or Microsoft Edge.

Cloud providers basically lease their software to companies. whether it’s a content management system (CMS), customer relationship management (CRM) or any other type of business app.

With SaaS, cloud service providers handle all maintenance including software updates, bugs and more.

What are the Benefits of Cloud Services?

Using cloud services comes with numerous benefits for companies of all sizes, hence the reason the cloud application market is expected to reach $168 billion by 2025.

Benefits of cloud computing services include:

1. Cost Reduction

One of the biggest benefits of cloud services is reduced cost. When you’re using a cloud service, you don’t need to invest money in building and maintaining all the equipment.

You don’t need any hardware or larger premises to efficiently use cloud services and grow your business, as everything is stored in the cloud and the cloud provider handles all hardware.

2. Scalability

Since you don’t need to spend any money on infrastructure and other resources, when the time comes to scale your business, you can do it easily with cloud services. For example, if your team has grown and you need more licenses for the cloud service or you require more cloud capacity, it can easily be accommodated.

Cloud services are agile and can adapt to your company’s IT requirements whether it’s a startup or a large enterprise.

3. Collaboration

Cloud-based services enable easy collaboration among team members. Better yet, these services improve the way teams collaborate and communicate, as they all have access to the infrastructure and everything is transparent.

This also means it’s easy to monitor who is performing which tasks thanks to different roles/permissions within the cloud service system.

4. Unlimited Storage Capacity

One of the major benefits of cloud services is the vast data storage capacity. Cloud service providers enable you to store unlimited data in the data centers and access the data any time you need to.

5. Flexibility

Cloud services are flexible, meaning that when you decide that your business no longer needs certain cloud services, you can simply cancel your subscription.

6. Advanced Security Features

Given the potential damage a data breach can do to a company, cybersecurity is one of the top priorities for all businesses. Cloud service providers offer advanced security features to ensure your data is safe and accessed only by users who have permission to do so.

They use access control, authentication and encryption to protect your data and restrict access to sensitive information.

7. Data Recovery

Another data-related issue a company might struggle with, besides security, is data recovery. When you lose access to your information due to hardware malfunction, cyberattack or power outage, you don’t have to worry because your data is always accessible in the cloud.

Storing your data in the cloud means that you can always find a way to access it, as long as you have a working computer or mobile device with internet connection.

How to Choose a Cloud Service Provider

If you’ve decided to move to cloud services, you’ve made a great decision. However, knowing which service provider fits your company's needs and requirements is crucial if you want to experience all of the benefits mentioned above.

Granted, the number of cloud computing service providers available is great, with many of them offering similar features.

To find the right provider, you first need to decide what type of cloud services you require: IaaS, PaaS or SaaS. Next, you should decide whether you want a public cloud service provider, a private one or a hybrid one. This will depend on the size of your business as well as your specific requirements and your budget.

If you’re a startup with a limited budget, for example, you should opt for a public cloud service provider.

Once you figure out these details, it’s time to start reviewing and evaluating the cloud service providers you have at your disposal.

Below is our checklist for evaluating and choosing a cloud service provider:

  • Research the market to find the top service providers
  • Define your security goals and compare them with the service providers you’re reviewing
  • Determine the features you need and ensure the service provider you choose offers them
  • Check whether the service provider supports integration with vital tools for your business
  • Check the level of support a service provider offers (phone, chat, 24/7 support, etc.)
  • Compare the fees and any related costs you may incur

Cloud Services Takeaways

As you can see, cloud technology is quite a broad term, but now you have the basics sorted out. You know that cloud services are either:

  • Infrastructure-as-a-Service
  • Platform-as-a-Service
  • Software-as-a-Service

You also know that clouds can be private, public or both (hybrid) and using our checklist above, you have enough information to make a decision for your company.

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