What Is Cloud Computing? – World Atlas

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Simply put, 'cloud' refers to the Internet, and cloud computing means saving your files and all your data, accessing applications or programs over the Internet instead of using local storage. Local storage or computing is saving your data on or running programs from your computers hard drive. In the past, people ran programs through software downloaded onto their computers. Cloud computing allows people to access these programs over the Internet without having to install them.

The word cloud was used to describe how engineers typically illustrated the Internet in diagrams that map out components of their networks. In previous years, engineers used a cloud symbol in old diagrams to depict this complex system all their computers were connected to thats located off-site or beyond their premises.

For businesses cloud computing means accessing computing services like data back-up and storage, server management, software hosting, disaster and recovery, analytics, among many others over the Internet.

Many organizations use cloud technology because it allows them to save a lot of money and other resources. With this technology, companies no longer need to build their own IT infrastructure on-site. They dont need to set-up, run, and maintain data centers. They dont have to buy racks of servers, expensive hardware, and software or pay for 24-hour electricity and cooling to keep servers working properly. On top of all these, they no longer need to maintain a team of IT personnel to manage the infrastructure on-site.

It saves the company even more since they dont have to invest in having physical space for servers. Cloud computing is also more flexible. It can be scaled up or down depending on the companys needs and they only pay for what they use. Simply put, they can just plug in and pay for a monthly subscription.

Cloud providers also offer customers advanced security features with a broad set of technologies and control to protect data from breaches and other threats. They provide added security measures to maintain cloud data protection and guard against unauthorized access, especially to sensitive information like clients payment data (credit card information, bank accounts), personal information (social security numbers, home addresses, phone numbers), health information (diagnoses, treatments), and other confidential data like financial records, business plans, or source codes among others.

Resources in the cloud can also be easily accessed from anywhere in the world. Companies and their staff can access, store, retrieve, or recover resources 24/7 while on the go even by using mobile devices. It is especially useful for companies with remote staff working from different parts of the world. It gives employees access to resources even if they are scattered in different locations.

Another important feature of cloud technology is cloud backup and disaster recovery. Since data is one of if not the most valuable asset of many modern organizations, losing it can mean losing productivity, revenue, and customers. A disaster can be caused by an access breach as in the case of a cyber-attack, a fire, flood, typhoon, or snowstorm that may damage computers on-site, or simply human error like when one of your administrators accidentally deletes data. This is why you need a Disaster Recovery (DR) plan.

Cloud providers offer disaster recovery backup services also known as off-site disaster recovery that allow organizations to easily backup and restore, or retrieve data and applications in case of a disaster to continue their operations. These cloud services are often scalable which means companies have control over how little or how much data or applications they need to back up or how often data back-up should be done (does the company need continuous or scheduled back-up?).

There are different approaches to cloud backup and disaster recovery and a company can choose any based on their budget and needs. The most basic one involves backing up data to the cloud and then recovering it when a disaster occurs. Another much more expensive approach involves having your backup resources running at all times and putting these resources into use as soon as disaster strikes. A third more sophisticated approach is having backup resources running in the cloud at all times and having copies of this spread out in different locations of the cloud. This provides more instantaneous backup and recovery, which is also more secure because it allows companies to recover data quickly even if one cloud site has failed. Although the last one is a lot more expensive and is designed for bigger companies.

There are three main types of cloud computing: public cloud, private cloud, and hybrid. A public cloud refers to IT infrastructure not owned by a single end-user and is shared with many others. In essence, public cloud providers lease out partitioned and redistributed parts to multiple tenants (organizations). In this type, cloud computing services are shared with numerous customers although their work systems remain separate from one another, they just happen to share the same cloud infrastructure (physical machine or group of machines). This is the most cost-effective approach.

Private cloud refers to cloud computing services that cater to a single tenant or one end user only. This means an organization may choose not to maintain their data center on-site, but procure the services of a cloud provider to create private cloud IT infrastructure that can be used by their business only. This is the most secure cloud computing solution that is used by companies handling sensitive data.

Hybrid cloud, on the other hand, uses a combination of private and public cloud resources. This allows companies to move between private and public clouds depending on specific needs giving them more flexibility.

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What Is Cloud Computing? - World Atlas

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