What is Cloud Computing?
Cloud computing simply means to store our data and programs online using different cloud services, so that we can access it easily anytime and anywhere we want. Suppose you have to go somewhere urgently and you forgot to bring your laptop which contains important files you need to access immediately, what will you do? Call at home and tell someone to mail it. What if no one is there to mail you, then? Here comes Cloud Storage as your saviour, you can easily access all your important data from anywhere in the world. All you need to have is an Internet Connection. For a more in-dept look at what cloud computing is, check out What is Cloud Computing.
Cloud computing provides basically three kinds of hosting services which are as following:
- SaaS (Software as a Service)- This hosting service provider hosts our enterprise data and programs, on its servers. Users can gain access to SaaS programs and data using a Web browser.
- PaaS (Platform as a Service) – This cloud hosting service provider delivers hardware and software tools usually needed by its users for the development of application as a service. This service frees us from installing softwares or hardwares to develop or run any new application.
- IaaS (Infrastructure as a Service)- This hosting service provider offers storage, servers , switching, virtual machines and connectivity resources to run our enterprise programs. In this kind of service, the provider is responsible only for managing the infrastructure hardware on which virtual machines or programs are running on. Rest is our responsibility.
Everyone has different opinions on the ‘Cloud Computing’ and its effect on business. For some it is their saviour and some believe that it is risky. But the truth is that the cloud services undoubtedly has the potential to open up a whole new dimension of opportunities to businesses if data security is properly addressed.
So, here are some reasons why we should use Cloud Services:
- Accessing data anytime, anywhere we want: The main reason why we should use Cloud Services is to have remote access to our infrastructure 24/7 for our workforce. It helps remotely located employees to access applications and work files over the internet, instead of waiting for someone to deliver the content.
- Being economical and Going Green- The average amount of energy needed for a computational action carried out in on-site deployment is far more than the average amount for the cloud. By using Cloud Services, different organizations can share the same physical resources collectively and securely which in turn leads to more efficient use of the shared resources.
- Provides Ample storage space– Your storage space in the cloud is flexible. It means that you can alter the size of the storage space you need at any given time. Unlike if you use a hard disk which is having limited storage, you can expand your “online storage space” anytime you want by contacting service providers.
- Scalability and flexibility- The Cloud Services has opened up various opportunities for organizations to quickly grow and expand smoothly and easily. The cloud offers flexibility and scalability which in the past was an invincible obstacle for businesses restricted by their own resources. The key to successfully harness this opportunity is a flexible data security architecture which can easily be adaptable across multiple applications and systems and not adversely impacting the user experience.
- Managing servers is a huge distraction: The Cloud Services has certainly decreased the amount of work which was needed to run a complex infrastructure. It still takes several hours to maintain our cloud servers. This involves building or fixing issues we shouldn’t have to deal with any more. Like as the time passes, systems begin to deteriorate and we have to fix them to keep running and there are a lot of other issues also, which we can face if we use our on-site resources.
- Cloud Services frees our staff for other projects- IT staff members in the companies spend most of their time in managing, maintaining and troubleshooting the equipments. Cloud computing providers offers us infrastructure as well as management services allowing us to offload those tasks to the provider, thus freeing our IT staff to work on other projects that are more critical for the success of a business.
After knowing the reasons why we should use Cloud Services, we should have some insight for some best Cloud Storage Service Providers.
- Google Drive: Google drive provides us generous free storage up to 15GB.
- DropBox: Dropbox is one of the only cloud storage service provider which offers clients for Windows, Mac OS X, Android, Linux and Blackberry.
- Apple iCloud: If you’re an Apple user and are willing to pay for the privilege then it’s well worth taking advantage of iCloud Drive, but for those using other operating systems we’d suggest looking somewhere else.
- MediaFire: Mediafire is a simple-to-use service that can be built up to 50GB of free storage if you have a few friends.
- Mega: Mega is a New Zealand based company that provides encryption in every part of the process.
- Copy: Copy starts with a decent 15GB of free space to new users which can be increased via a referral system that rewards both you and any new user with an additional 5GB each. A maximum of 25 GB extra storage is allowed.
- Microsoft OneDrive: They also provide 15GB of free space which can be increased by 500MB of storage for every friend that signs up to an account through them.
- Tresorit: The basic, free package provided by Tresorit is somewhat limited, but if you are looking for a secure method of storage and sharing sensitive data with colleagues then the premium packages are an excellent choice.
- Knowhow Cloud: They offer most tempting service for a 2TB allotment covering five devices and costing £30 per year.
- Mozy: They provide 2GB of free storage which is very small these days but if you intend to use it for your most valuable data then it is a very useful tool.