Cloud computing is the delivery of computing services—servers, storage, databases, networking, software, and analytics—over the Internet. Users can access their data whenever and wherever without physically hosting software or hardware. While it is often referred to as a singular “the cloud,” there are actually multiple clouds, each one controlled by a different provider (for example, Apple's iCloud).
Advantages of Cloud Computing for Businesses and Users
Cloud computing allows files, photos, software, documents, and other digital information to be stored and shared securely. The cloud can be used to stream video, analyze data, create apps, and complete virtually any task that requires data storage. As long as you have Internet access, you will be able to open and share anything that is stored in the cloud.
The exact benefits will vary according to the type of cloud service being used; however, some advantages of cloud computing include:
- Scalability. Your business can scale your operation and storage needs up or down to suit your situation, allowing flexibility as your needs change. Rather than purchasing and installing expensive upgrades yourself, your cloud computing service provider can handle this for you.
- Reduced costs. A cloud system reduces the need for high-priced hardware and software, as well as labor and storage costs associated with maintenance. Businesses can simply rent the space that they need on demand, without worrying about expensive infrastructure costs.
- Global scale. Cloud computing allows users to access files anywhere in the world using any Internet-enabled device, including laptops, tablets, and smartphones. The cloud makes it easy for users in multiple locations to work on the same project, since all users can access and edit files simultaneously (without the need for back-and-forth emailing).
- Reliability. If data loss occurs, cloud-based data duplication technology will allow users to securely store and recover their data. Protecting your data and systems is an important part of business continuity planning. Being able to access your data again quickly allows you to conduct business as usual, minimizing any downtime and loss of productivity.
- Manageability. Cloud computing provides enhanced and simplified IT management capabilities through central administration of resources. IT infrastructure updates and maintenance are eliminated, as the service provider maintains all resources.