What is Cloud Computing and How Does It Work?

Cloud computing – chances are, if you’re not already using it, that you’ve heard the phrase. But what is cloud computing, and how does it work?  In this post, we’re taking a look at how cloud computing works and some of the options available to your business.

What is Cloud Computing?

So, what is cloud computing, and how does it work? Cloud computing (or cloud-based services) provides companies and customers with easy, affordable access to applications and resources online, without internal infrastructure or hardware. Cloud computing companies host your servers online, so you don’t have to buy and maintain the physical infrastructure yourself.

The cloud is all the things you can access remotely over the Internet; how the cloud works is by storing data on Internet servers instead of the computer’s hard drive.

Advantages of Cloud Computing

The Advantages of Cloud Computing

1.   Flexibility

Cloud-based services enable flexibility in the workplace. Many companies are finding it increasingly important to invest in flexibility as working from home, and hybrid working models become more prevalent.

With cloud computing, team members can access files and collaborate on them without being on the company’s network.

2.   Efficiency

Cloud storage allows users to access and download data on their chosen device and edit files alongside other users. An example of cloud computing is Gmail, where users can access files and applications hosted by Google via the Internet from any device. No more sending files back and forth for days with changes and comments!

3.   Cost reduction

As long as you have a secure Internet connection, there is no need to buy and maintain hardware. Some companies still opt to maintain their own servers on-site, but this comes with added costs of backups, maintenance, power and replacing infrastructure at the end of its lifespan.

4.   Scalability

Cloud computing suits companies of all sizes. It is easy to cope with a growing business’s demands by purchasing more cloud storage than physical equipment. Many cloud computing providers will offer you a per-user cost, so if your team expands in the future, you’ll know what the cost will be.

5.   Access to updates

Depending on your provider, your cloud system will regularly be updated with the latest technology, ensuring any sensitive data remains secure and giving you the edge over the competition.

Person Working on a Laptop

Examples of Cloud Computing

It’s likely you’ll already be aware of the more prolific examples of what cloud computing is and what it does; think of Microsoft 365 and the Adobe Creative Cloud. In addition, Dropbox, Google Drive and Sync are some cloud-based file-sharing services popular with businesses.

Cloud computing can be split into public, private or hybrid and the key difference in how the cloud works is the server that hosts them.

  • Public cloud computing is hosted on a server that anyone can access – although your files and folders are secure to you, the space is shared by anyone who uses that provider as a host.
  • Private cloud computing means that, while your documents will still be hosted over the Internet, the server will be set up to only cater to you. This is often a popular choice for speedier performance, as you aren’t sharing the server’s processing power with numerous other users, as well as for a bit of added security.
  • Hybrid cloud computing, you might have guessed, combines the two. In this form of cloud computing, you might host some documents – typically larger documents or those requiring extra privacy – on a private server but have the rest stored on a public server.

The important thing is to find a solution that works for your business.

PaaS Platform

Different Cloud-Based Services

SaaS vs PaaS vs IaaS

We have a blog post on the main differences between SaaS, PaaS and IaaS, which analyses each of these services in detail. However, some of the advantages common to all three include:

  • These services share an elastic model in which services can be scaled up or down as needed.
  • Each comprises a small monthly fee rather than a large one-off payment.
  • All cloud-based services achieve their objectives by providing a layer of abstraction, hiding the expensive, complex and messy implementation details from the end customer.
  • They all free up resources that were previously spent on maintaining an IT infrastructure so that the customer can focus on their innovative ideas instead.

The three types of service form a pyramid. First, infrastructure as a Service forms a base layer. Then, on top of this is Platform as a Service to simplify the development and deployment of specific applications. Finally, at the peak of the pyramid, applications are delivered as Software as a Service.

Working environments have been irreversibly changed following the pandemic, with flexibility and home working more prevalent than ever before. If you wish to discuss the services in cloud computing in further detail, or if you would like to explore what cloud computing is and how it works for your business, please contact us. Alternatively, learn more about us and our services through our available case studies.

Nick McKenna
Since 2004, Nick McKenna, BSc, MBCS Biography has been the CEO of McKenna Consultants. McKenna Consultants is a bespoke software development based in North Yorkshire, specialising in Cloud development, mobile App development, progressive web App development, systems integration and the Internet of Things development. Nick also holds a First Class Degree in Computer Science (BSc) and wrote his first computer program at the age of nine, on a BBC Micro Model B computer. For the last 21 years, Nick has been a professional computer programmer and software architecture. Nick’s technical expertise includes; Net Core, C#, Microsoft Azure, Asp.Net, RESTful web services, eProcurement, Swift, iOS mobile development, Java, Android mobile development, C++, Internet Of Things and more. In addition, Nick is experienced in Agile coaching, training and consultancy, applying modern Agile management techniques to marketing and running McKenna Consultants, as well as the development of software for clients. Nick is a Certified Enterprise Coach (Scrum Alliance), SAFe Program Consultant (SAI), Certified LeSS Practitioner (LeSS) and Certified Scrum@Scale Practitioner. Outside the office, Nick is a professional scuba diver and he holds the rank of Black Belt 5th Dan in Karate.