Your Guide to Understanding the Basics of Cloud Computing

You’ve heard the term cloud computing, and you may have used it without knowing you were using the power of the cloud. The term itself covers a variety of services. There are different components that make up a cloud, knowing the functions of different cloud computing services such as software as a service (SaaS), platform as a service (PaaS), and infrastructure as a service (IaaS) can help determine the choice for when and where to apply to your business or organization.

What is a cloud?
According to the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST), the definition of cloud computing is a model that enables an on-demand network access to a shared pool of resources such as networks, servers, apps, and services that can be rapidly called up and provisioned when wanted.

What types of resources make up a cloud?
Resources such as an on-demand self-service where end users can subscribe and receive a particular service. Another common feature that defines a cloud is the accessibility for devices that range from mobile to desktop. The elastic design of a cloud supports the ability for multiple customers to utilize resources at the same time.

What is SaaS?
Software as a service (SaaS) simply refers to software that is deployed via the Internet. This type of application is built for end users and delivered via the web. Apps such as GoToMeeting and Netflix are good examples of this technology in action. The providers of the software license the usage to end users via subscription, pay-as-you-go, or sometimes no charge. The users utilize the service on-demand.

What are some of the defining characteristics of SaaS?
SaaS is software managed from a central location and users access online. The software is set up in a “one to many” model. Users don’t need to install updates and patches, it’s done centrally by the software owner. Application Programming Interfaces (APIs) allow for integration between different software programs to work with the SaaS across many different platforms seamlessly.

Is SaaS right for your company or organization?
If your firm or organization needs to leverage a competitive advantage and have a software or service to offer to multiple users, this is a good choice. Apps that need to run via the web such as mobile account and sales management programs benefit from the SaaS environment as information can be called up quickly and shared internally with ease.

Because the customer experience is such an integral part of success, using SaaS to develop a tightly running customer relationship management (CRM) product is a good use of this technology.

What are cons of using SaaS?
SaaS is a valuable tool, but it’s not the answer to every technological need. Applications that need extremely fast processing and real-time data may not benefit from this type of tech. Consideration should be given to the type of data being hosted as some regulations prohibit certain types of data being hosted externally.

What is PaaS?
PaaS refers to the tools and services that deploy to make applications and services efficient and quick.

What is IaaS?
IaaS refers to the hardware and software that powers the cloud. The servers, networks, operating systems and storage.

Use this information to determine if using cloud computing is right for your business or organization. If you need to provide a service or access to subscribers or clients, using the power of cloud computing may help you scale up your business and leverage greater success.

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