A Complete Guide To Cloud Computing

If you’ve been researching different enterprise-technologies you’ve probably heard people talk about “THE CLOUD”. Maybe they’ve mentioned “hybrid cloud solutions” or “cloud-backed technology”. So, you’re probably wondering “what is the cloud?”

What is Cloud Computing?

Cloud computing services is networking, services and storage which are housed on “someone else’s computer”. For example, if you’ve used a web-based mail client like Gmail or Hotmail you’ll know that you can access the same emails from any device so long as it’s connected to the internet. That’s because the emails aren’t being stored on your device, they’re being stored “in the cloud” and you are using a device to access them.

In reality, “in the cloud” means on another computer, or to be more accurate, other computers as they will be copied to multiple locations in data centres across the world.


What Are The Benefits?

The main benefits of cloud computing are it’s scalability, low cost and low physical footprint compared to non-cloud solutions.

Types of Cloud Services

Obviously, accessing email isn’t the only thing that the cloud is useful for, there are several technologies which make use of the cloud. These often have the suffix -aaS to their acronyms, being short for “as a service”. That’s because more cloud technologies are operated as service which are paid for on an ongoing basis.

1. Software-as-a-Service (SaaS)

Software as a Service is the most commonly used type of cloud service. CMS platforms like SalesForce, inventory management systems, accounting software (such as SAGE) and payroll software (like Xero) are all examples of Software as a Service.

2. Infrastructure-as-a-service (IaaS)

Infrastructure as a service is the use of cloud-based element to replace the fundamental infrastructure of your on-premises IT. Functions like back-up and data storage are handled by a third-party provider who is responsible for the upkeep and implementation of the cloud-solutions.

3. Platform-as-a-Service (PaaS)

Platform-as-a-service (PaaS) is a type of cloud technology whereby a service provider supplies users with a specialised cloud platform, allowing them to construct, operate, and administer enterprise apps without the need to install and sustain the infrastructure which is normally needed to support the software development processes.

Types of Cloud

There are three main approaches to cloud computing.

1. Public Cloud

Public cloud platforms are maintained by third-party providers (like Microsoft, Amazon and Google). You will pay a set monthly fee dependant on how much cloud storage or computing power.


  • It is reliable.
  • Someone else takes care of the maintenance
  • It is easily scalable if you need more storage/computing power.


  • More expensive long terms than other solutions.
  • You are not in full control of your data if it is hosted on someone else’s network.

2. Private Cloud

In a private cloud environment, you house the cloud itself either on servers on your premises or in a data centre which you have rented space in.


  • More privacy (better suited for sensitive information)
  • It is exclusive to you and uncontested so there is no slowdown during busy period
  • The running costs are lower (if on site)


– You are responsible, if something goes wrong it’s up to you to fix it.

– You need to have skilled IT professionals on staff to fix and maintain it

– Higher implementation cost (if on-premises) as you will need to purchase and install your own server hardware.

3. Hybrid Cloud Solutions

A hybrid cloud solution is a blend of private and public cloud. Any system which utilises both cloud environments is a hybrid cloud solution but in practice the most common method is to house infrastructure on the public cloud (like disaster recovery software) but to store sensitive data (financial, medical, personal) on a private cloud.

Leading Cloud Computing Companies

There are two main competitors in the enterprise cloud market Microsoft and Google.

Microsoft Azure: One of the oldest names in PC technology and one of the largest cloud providers, they offer advanced business IT solutions and can interact directly with your Microsoft software through platforms like Dynamics 365.

Amazon AWS: Amazon Web Services (AWS) is a behemoth in cloud computing. Offering scalable cloud solutions for a variety of businesses. Some estimates suggest that as much of 25% of the content on the web involves AWS. For instance, the last time you watched a film on Netflix, it was served from an AWS server.

We hope this article has been a useful overview of the various types of cloud technology and the main players involved. If you are considering implementing a cloud solution you should first discuss it with you IT department or external managed IT service provider. It is a good idea to take them with you to any sales meetings or calls with cloud providers to ask any technical questions you may be unaware of.

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