What is Cloud Computing?

Are you familiar with a “cloud” like symbol representing the Internet? It is “The Cloud”! It is an innovation that has revolutionized the arena of computing and transformed the face of the Internet. Every person who uses basic applications like Gmail and social media is using cloud storage. Sites like Instagram, Flickr, Gmail, banking apps and other similar apps use the power of cloud.

The technology of cloud computing and cloud storage is fairly new to the world. This is not a tool used only by IT professionals, as individuals and businesses around the globe take active participation in cloud storage.

What is cloud storage? Is it safe? Why do businesses use it? And more questions like these might be popping all around you!

The idea that popular apps like Instagram store your personal photos in virtual data center may seem foggy and even dangerous.

Read all about cloud storage and dispel the fog a little.

Part 1: What is a Cloud?
Part 2: What is Cloud Storage?
Part 3: Types of Cloud Storage
Part 4: Benefits of Cloud Storage
Part 5: Challenges Faced by Cloud Storage
Part 6: How to Protect Your Data?
Part 7: How to Leverage Cloud Solutions for Business?
Part 8: What is the Right Solution For You?
Part 9: Future of Cloud Computing

 

cloud is a virtual data center that is used to store any form of data without physically occupying the space in any computer hardware. Technically, it is a collection of networked computer hardware that work together to offer online services with the power of computing.

You must be wondering what is a virtual data center? They are the foundation of the cloud storage technology.

Cloud Image What is a Cloud

Virtual data centers are machines created with software based on computing, memory, and storage. These operations are given to multiple smaller units, which run individually and then connect together to compile the information. Imagine having a thousands of computers connected together with sole purpose of storing online data. Expect, the physical hardware is absent and these machines are computer programs running 24×7 hour, 7 days a week.

When virtual machines are used to store data for computing, they become a “cloud.”

 

Let’s give you real-life examples of clouds that millions of online users activate every day. Services like Dropbox and Apple’s iCloud are classic examples of successful cloud applications. User can store photos, mails, records, and any information as form of data in the virtual machines and access this data from any part of the world.

WHAT IS CLOUD STORAGE?

Cloud storage involves stashing data on computer hardware in a remote physical location. It can be accessed via Internet on your device from any location in the world. Clients can send files to their designated data server provided by cloud server. Such cloud storage servers have hundreds and thousands of data servers linked together by a master control server, so that it can become a single system.

Let’s refer to the diagram below and we observe the following things:

  • The cloud holds all the application, platform, and infrastructure used by the user and server provider.
  • The images, database, content, calendar update, communication, and networks are stored in the cloud.
  • The technology that users have like tablets, computers, mobile device, and servers are outside the cloud. This means that the technology can be anywhere in the world and connect with the cloud via power of the Internet.

This is a traditional cloud storage that is used by millions around the globe.

Cloud Computing

TYPES OF CLOUD STORAGE

Now that you know all about clouds and cloud storage, we can move on to learning more about cloud storage types. The process of storing digital data that spans over multiple servers is usually overseen and maintained by a hosting company. The different types of cloud storage depend upon the architectural structure.

Cloud storage architecture is the relationship between components of the cloud-computing network. There are many elements like front-end platforms, back end platforms, applications, software, and database that work together to form a functional “cloud.”

  • Public Cloud – These types of cloud can be accessed online by anyone who has the right authorization. Everyone gets the same level of security and requires little maintenance. The administrative controls are also kept to the minimum, so that everyone can get easy access.

    For example, big firms like Amazon Web Service, Google Cloud, Microsoft Azure, and IBM Cloud use public cloud service. These providers own all of the cloud architecture elements like hardware, software, and other items.
  • Private Cloud – Unlike public cloud, a private cloud is used and maintained by only one organization. Businesses with critical data storage need additional security measures and tailored private cloud solution. This type of structure can reside with a third-party vendor or on-premises.

    For example, organizations like government agencies, financial institutions, and even healthcare organizations use private cloud services.
  • Hybrid Cloud – Just like the name suggests, a hybrid cloud combines the benefits of public and private cloud solutions. Selected data and applications move between public and private clouds as required by the owner. It offers more flexibility and combines the power of both clouds.

    For example, businesses like Apple and Google have certain applications like webmail that need to be available for every user, but might need a private account to store their data logs.

BENEFITS OF CLOUD STORAGE

In today’s world, cloud services have taken over the digital world with a rapid speed. Earlier most companies were dependent on their in-house servers for storing data and found it challenging to keep up with the growing demands. Here are some reasons why cloud storage is popular:

benefits of cloud computing

  • Easily usable and accessible – Once the user is on a cloud, they can easily add and save all the files and data into the server by “drag and drop” action.
  • Disaster recovery – It is important for every business to have a backup for all their critical data and information. In cases of natural disaster, one should be able to get back all the information to start their business again. This is where a cloud storage facility becomes so important.
  • Security – Sensitive information will always be safe when it is on a cloud. The server data is distributed all over random servers and the data is safeguarded against a hacking attack or anything else.
  • Cost effective – Any business can easily reduce their annual operating costs by utilizing the power of cloud storage. They are affordable because one doesn’t need special hardware to store the data, which is what servers are for!
  • Easy sharing – Any data stored in the cloud can be easily accessed with the right authorization.
  • Automation – Cloud is all about backing up your data. Scheduling backups and marking the date and time in your calendar can be daunting. With cloud, you can get automation features, where data is automatically backed up.

CHALLENGES FACED BY CLOUD STORAGE

There is no solution that comes with a silver bullet. Cloud storage is no different and with the immense increase in popularity and uses of this technology, things can get complicated. Here are the following concerns IT specialists recognized with clouds:

  • Prone to attacks – When data is stored in multiple places, there are more chances of a breach. Cloud uses Internet to transfer the data, which is again less secure than other options like wires. There are measures like cryptosystem that makes the data encrypted and more secured.
  • Supplier sustainability – Cloud storage depends upon the provider’s ability to offer the service. If a server company was to go bankrupt or suffers from a disaster, the users and their data might be affected.

Every technology comes with a few hiccups, but these are some measures that user can take to enhance the security: 

  • Backup your data locally and have electronic copies of your most important data. This way you can continue accessing the original ones when they get lost or corrupted. You can back them up on a different cloud server or manually in an external device.
  • There is no such thing as a real privacy on the Internet, which means more people are out there trying to get access of your passwords and credit card details. Sensitive information is at the highest risk of being attacked on the Internet. Avoid storing sensitive information on the web or cloud.
  • Use cloud services with abilities to encrypt the data for better security measures. This way your data stay protected and offers double security for the users.
  • Install anti-virus software to tackle hacking attempts on your account.
  • Making your password stronger is a great way to ensure that hacking attempts are unsuccessful. 
How to protect yourself using Cloud Technologies

Now that you know everything about cloud storage, it is time to understand how you can leverage this amazing technology for the benefits of your business.

  • Expand your big data processing and analytics ventures by using cloud-computing infrastructure like Cloud Google. Many businesses still lack the expertise to run deep analytics. Cloud servers offer analytic tools without heavy investments.
  • Cost-effective disaster recovery protocols are one of the major benefits of using cloud server for your business. Such safety nets are available at fraction of the cost and take the safety one-step further.
  • Flexible test and development are features offered by cloud computing. Development of application and testing major codes with existing solutions is one of the major parts of running a software company.
  • Get a stable environment for product and services in times of peak demand with cloud computing.
  • Upgrade business resource planning powers and business processing by accessing amazing cloud tools like project management applications and accounting.
Which Cloud Solution is best for business?

Sooner or later, every business is going to evaluate the benefits of cloud computing for their future prospects. Today, organizations are including cloud computing for test environments and development of their products. Companies also have to start thinking about going beyond the use of applications. A cloud has properties like agility and dynamic operational uses, which any business can benefit from.

Following are the factors to consider when searching for the right cloud server:

  • Price – Start by looking at the prices of every top cloud service provider based on the requirements. Although, price is not everything, but based on the benefits it can offer, one can make it a flexible option.
  • Performance – Performance should always be one of the top priorities when searching for the right provider. Some clouds are designed to provide only a specific solution, while others offer more applications and tools.
  • Reliability – You would want a cloud vendor who is reliable, has a stable infrastructure, and robust data exchange. Make sure they have good reviews and make good on your demands.
  • Expertise – Always pick an established provider with expertise in the field. Cloud computing is a complex technology and needs trained experts to manage the intricate details.

Without a doubt, the technology of cloud computing is here to stay! Understanding the working mechanics of cloud is essentials to enter this new age of technology. The use of cloud-based applications has increased 3 times in the past year alone. This factor is only going to grow with new updates and applications available to make the world of business more agile, reliable, and better functioning.

 

September 10th 2019

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