There are many uses of cloud computing that can offer significant business advantages to companies. Cloud computing is a computing model and set of technologies that allows consumers to access cloud services using the Internet on a pay-as-you-go basis.
Despite being a relatively new paradigm that came into mass favour only within the last several years, cloud computing is becoming more and more popular by the day.
From government agencies and NGOs to non-profit organizations and small start-ups, the various uses of cloud computing have proven effective in providing an array of solutions to various problems.
That said, have you adopted cloud computing in your business? Well, if you haven’t, it’s possibly because you don’t understand its use cases and the benefits that you can achieve for your business.
Below are some common uses of cloud computing that should prompt you to consider how this technology can assist your business.
1. File storage
There are lots of options for how to store and access your data. There’s the hard drive on your laptop, the external hard drive you use for backing up and transferring data, network file shares, USB drives and more.
With so many storage options available, what makes cloud storage unique?
Well, the main reason why cloud storage is appealing is that files can be accessed and edited with ease. All you need is an internet connection and you can access your files from any device, anywhere.
There are several types of cloud storage available including block, file and object storage. These each fit different use cases from shared filesystems to block-based volumes and backup and archiving systems.
With cloud computing storage services such as Amazon S3, DropBox, or OneDrive, you will be provided with secure access and the scalability to increase or decrease storage based on your needs and budget. For this reason, this type of storage is not only secure but also extremely affordable.
2. Big Data Analytics
Today, your business will be at a significant disadvantage if it doesn’t collect big data. This can be data about your customers, market trends, sales performance and more.
Companies of all sizes need big data for a myriad of reasons. Some collect it to discover new opportunities for business growth, while others do so to find solutions to complex problems.
Collecting and analyzing big data, however, doesn’t come easy. It demands the use of vast computing resources, which come with a hefty price tag.
If you were to purchase the resources needed for cloud computing, then you may have to slash budgets meant for other essential services such as marketing. This is something you don’t have to do if you adopt cloud computing.
The primary benefit of cloud computing is that it comes with a pay-as-you-go pricing strategy. This means that you will not have to pay for unused time — saving your business a significant amount of money. You only access resources and pay for them when you need them.
Without a doubt, cloud computing makes big data analytics simple, useful and inexpensive. For more information, Amazon Web Services (AWS) offer several analytics services for various use cases.
3. Data backups and archiving
Today, we live in a world where cybercrime is the order of the day. No day will pass without cases of major data breaches, which at times become fatal for quite a number of businesses.
Traditional methods of data backup have proven effective in backing up data for a long time. Nonetheless, they are prone to viruses, and due to their portable nature, they can get lost and pose a threat to modern businesses.
Cloud-based backup and archiving is a solution to these challenges. It is easy to implement and provides maximum data security. With this approach, you can backup or archive your sensitive files to cloud-based storage systems. This provides the assurance that your data is still intact even if your live data becomes somehow compromised.
Some cloud computing services allow you to schedule backups to meet your unique needs. Additionally, you can encrypt your cloud backups and make it impossible for hackers and snoopers to access.
With cloud storage, you can get as much space as you require and store as much data as you need and will only pay for what you actually use.
4. Disaster recovery
Do you know the cost of not having a business continuity plan in place? Research has shown that over 75% of business that experience a disaster and do not have a disaster recovery strategy in place fail within 3 years of a disaster.
Traditionally, building a disaster recovery site and testing your business continuity plan has been an extremely expensive and time-consuming task.
But it doesn’t have to be that way anymore!
With cloud computing, you can build a disaster recovery solution in the cloud. In this model you create a replica of your production site and constantly replicate data and configuration settings.
In the event of a disaster at your production site, it is fast and relatively simple to launch your applications and data services in the cloud and get your business back up and running in no time.
5. Software testing and development
If you have developed an in-house application or software in the past, you can attest to the fact that the process is long-winded, expensive and pricey. It requires the installation and configuration of sophisticated hardware and software and the continuous training of the involved staff members.
This simply means that a simple project can take months to complete, and this could put you at a disadvantage in today’s super-competitive market.
Cloud computing providers offer many tools for continuous integration and continuous delivery that make development and testing faster, less complex and cheaper.
If you’re interested in learning all about the Developer Tools offered by AWS, check out the FREE AWS cheat sheets from Digital Cloud Training.
With these cloud development tools, you can gain an advantage by shortening your software delivery lifecycle time and ultimately gain an edge over your competition.
6. Infrastructure as a service (IaaS) and Platform as a service (PaaS)
Running the physical servers and virtualization infrastructure to host your virtual machines requires significant investments in acquiring and managing IT infrastructure.
To save costs on this, businesses are turning to cloud computing, whose pay-per-use pricing scheme creates a perfect blend of quality and affordability. With Infrastructure as a Service (IaaS), you can say goodbye to your VMware licensing costs along with all of the hardware you run your virtual servers on.
This is because with IaaS you simply deploy virtual machines, also known as “instances” in the cloud, without having to manage any of the underlying hardware or hosting software.
But what if you don’t even want to manage the instances and their operating system software? This is where Platform as a Service (PaaS) comes in. When using the PaaS computing model you simply upload your code to the cloud service and everything is taken care of for you to launch and manage your application in the cloud.
An example of a PaaS service is AWS Elastic Beanstalk. This service allows you to simply upload code and Elastic Beanstalk then takes care of building out your Amazon EC2 instances, Auto Scaling groups, Elastic Load Balancers and even Amazon RDS databases.
Cloud computing allows people to access cloud-based communication tools such as calendars and emails. Also, messaging and calling apps such as WhatsApp and skype are all built on cloud infrastructure.
The messages and files you send and receive are stored in the cloud service and not just on your device. This makes it possible for you to access them from any device and any part of the globe through the internet.
8. Social Networking
Perhaps one of the most ignored applications of cloud computing is social networking. Platforms such as Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn are examples of the Software as a Service (SaaS) cloud computing model.
Social media platforms are developed to help you find people you know — or connect with those you don’t know. They also give you many tools for sharing information and data such as tweets, photos, instant messages and posts.
Along with cloud storage, social networking is one of the most common use cases for consumer-driven usage of cloud services.
9. Business process
If you are using business management applications such as Enterprise Resource Planning (ERP) or Customer Relationship Management (CRM), you have already incorporated cloud computing into your management strategy.
Such enterprise-level applications are deployed using software as a Service (SaaS), which heavily relies on cloud computing models. They ensure convenient maintenance, security and management of your business’ essential resources. Additionally, they offer optimum efficiency to service providers and their consumers.
Cloud computing is doubtlessly a growing market and there are many advantageous uses of cloud computing services. New enterprises are rapidly transitioning to the cloud and it has become the ideal medium for testing and development, communication, storage and deployment of software.
With all these uses of cloud computing and the benefits outlined above, there is no reason why you shouldn’t incorporate cloud computing into your business today and gain a competitive advantage.
For further information on Cloud Computing, please also check out:
- What is Cloud Computing? Cloud vs Legacy IT
- Cloud Computing Service Models — IaaS, PaaS, SaaS
- Cloud Computing Deployment Models — Public, Private & Hybrid
- Cloud Computing Basics — Compute
- Cloud Computing Basics — Storage
- Cloud Computing Basics — Network
- Cloud Computing Basics — Serverless
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