The word “Cloud” has been around for some time and is now cropping up even more. But what does this common term actually mean? How does it help us in our day-to-day? What types of Cloud are there? What services do they offer? Which services are sought after?

According to the Real Academia de la Lengua Española (Spanish language authority), the Cloud is a place where we can store and process online data and files that users may access from any device.

This general definition is a good place to start before delving deeper.

The Cloud in our day-to-day 

It's almost unthinkable we could go a day without using a mobile phone, tablet, laptop, games console or other technological devices. We often use several at a time and seamlessly switch between them depending on our needs. Their uses are plentiful: To check social media like TikTok, LinkedIn and Instagram; watch a film on Netflix or HBO; book a trip online; read emails; check our bank balance; send money via Bizum; and make payments through PayPal. On the more technical side, let’s think of a marketing firm that’s planning to launch a communications campaign next week and needs more storage and faster processing to tackle the project; a developer who’s looking to launch their online app without needing to give thought to the infrastructure behind it; and an SME that prefers to focus on its business rather than background technology. 

We do many things on our mobile phones and other electronic, Internet-connected devices, but what’s behind the apps we use every day? What’s changed so I can access my data anywhere, any time and on any device? How am I able to draw on limitless resources quickly? Behind it all is the Cloud in its different guises.

What are the benefits of the Cloud?

The Cloud enables us to use on-demand services quickly, flexibly, securely and to scale, and is easily adaptable to end users and companies’ needs.

 

 

Those benefits place companies at the forefront of technology so they can offer innovative products to customers quickly, globally and in line with market demands and stand out in a changing and competitive landscape.

What are the most common types of Cloud?

  • Private: when the platform is part of a private network used by just one company. They are sometimes housed in company-owned data centres or available through service providers; however, they only serve that company.
  • Public: an external provider owns the platform, and the company shares it with others. The provider offers their services online and takes care of maintenance and administration.
  • Hybrid: a combination of the public and private Clouds that showcases the best of both worlds. It boasts more deployment options while adhering to companies’ strict regulations.
  • Multi: a recently-coined term for when companies turn to several providers’ Clouds to cover greater usage needs.

What are the most common Cloud services? 

While we’ll go through the most common or well-known below, the so-called “aaS” (As a Service) propositions (Network aaS, Storage aaS, Monitoring aaS, Backup aaS, Container aaS, etc.) are growing at a rate of knots. Many of them fall under the three we’ve introduced you to here. They are the deployment models that, as with the types of Clouds, can adapt to users’ needs. The main difference lies in the extent of users and companies’ responsibility and control.

  • Infrastructure as a Service (IaaS): this is RAM, CPU, storage and communications; it forms the technological foundation for the rest of the services.
  • Platform as a Service (PaaS): the often-overlooked infrastructure that runs underneath the platform and adapts according to demand, enabling us to concentrate on the apps. Software developers often use it.
  • Software as a Service (SaaS): self-contained, subscription-based services we can access without installing them locally. We can forget about the hardware, operating system, platform, etc. and focus solely on using the app. The provider carries out maintenance and updates.

The image below shows the differences between the deployment models, with the services that each one affords:

Which Cloud is the best fit for my business?

When it comes to the Cloud, companies have many options . They should make their decision based on a good understanding of their objectives and their end users’ needs, not to mention their desired level of responsibility, control and security. Multinational companies usually opt for a combination of solutions that afford the most security and flexibility. Many SMEs, especially when going through digitalization, tend to choose SaaS on the public Cloud. 

Security is the priority in all Cloud environments. As threats become greater, the need to be prepared for all types of attacks is paramount. Phishing and ransomware attacks are on the rise and are being reported on at an alarming rate.

Whatever the use, the Cloud is a giant leap in companies’ digital transformation.

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