What is The Cloud?

The cloud is always a hot topic and with good reason as it is continuously evolving. There are many questions about the cloud. Is it safe? Is it for me? Will it save me money? But, before we can explore these critical questions, we have to cover the basics being, what is it? We have all heard of the cloud, but very few truly understand what the cloud is or where it resides.

In the past, businesses were entirely responsible for the management of their data, operating systems, software, and hardware. There are still companies which this option still makes sense although, there are a great many where the time, space and education required to manage these systems is not an efficient use of time and money. This is where today's cloud computing can sometimes sweep in and save the day taking away the stress and inefficiencies that this management can create.

There are multiple different cloud environments:

  • Hybrid Environment: This is many times the very first step towards working toward the cloud and is the combination of local on-premise servers and public cloud. An example of this would be managing user identity (Windows sign in) while leveraging the file share capabilities of the SharePoint Online.
  • Infrastructure as a Service (IaaS): This model of cloud computing would be a step up from the Hybrid Environment. This is where a cloud provider hosts and maintains the infrastructure, i.e. the servers and networking. Examples of this are, Google Cloud, Amazon Web Service, Microsoft Azure or a Private Cloud.
  • Platform as a Service (PaaS): This model is one in which the provider supplies the software and hardware "shell" and you as the subscriber pay for a subscription to utilize the provider's infrastructure to personalize and manage your own services effectively. This method gives you more access to the back-end to customize more fully. Examples of this would be, Microsoft Azure Active Directory and SQL.
  • Software as a Service (SaaS): Is almost always a web-based software that is hosted and maintained by the provider. You as a subscriber pay for a subscription to use the software but do not have any access to the back-end making the software typically more user-friendly. A few examples of this would be Hubspot, Salesforce and Office 365.

These options have many benefits, but it is definitely not a one-size fits all model. The “right” model depends on the needs of the business as every business has its own unique fingerprint. Follow our blogs during the month of April to learn more about these environments. We will be discussing how to decide if the cloud is a right fit for you and if so, what model fits you most appropriately. Our Pendello team of business technology associates sees the different fingerprints of businesses daily so be sure to reach out for any specific questions on cloud computing.

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