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With businesses always searching for methods to streamline their operations, since their inception, cloud-based solutions have emerged as a powerful tool. More and more companies are considering hiring an external provider to move their data into the cloud for greater versatility and security.
The types of cloud-based solutions on the market are incredibly diverse and applicable to the needs of a staggering amount of industries.
Here’s all you’ll need to know if you’re looking to explore what they are and analyze how they benefit all types of businesses across the world.
What are Cloud-Based Solutions?
Put simply, cloud computing involves moving services such as storage, processing power and applications into the internet or the cloud.
By making this transition companies elmitate the need for physical infrastructure like data centres, as they are replaced by remote servers run by third-party contractors. These external providers usually offer their services on a pay-as-you-go scheme, granting their clients the flexibility to scale up or down depending on their needs.
The concept of cloud computing first gained traction in the late 90s. One of the most notable and arguably the first examples of the cloud being used successfully came with the company Salesforce, which pioneered the idea of selling software which could be downloaded via the internet on demand.
Since then, the technology and capabilities of these services have become more evolved and commonly used.
Types of Cloud Solutions
In today’s world, cloud-based solutions is an umbrella term, encompassing a wide array of services. To make the industry seem a little more straightforward, the range of contracts offered is typically sectioned into three areas:
- Infrastructure as a Service (IaaS): This type of service focuses on allowing customers to access components that would typically be used in an in-house data center. With this model, businesses can rent virtual machines, storage and networks to build and manage their own IT operations without the costs and complexities of owning physical hardware.
- Platform as a Service (PaaS): Paas offers a complete development and deployment space in the cloud where developers can build and test applications without worrying about the underlying infrastructure. The main difference between Paas and Iaas is that Paas users are given greater accessibility and ease of use over the technology. In this scheme, users are free to build apps without having to host them.
- Software as a Service (SaaS): The most common of the three types of cloud solutions, Saas uses the internet to grant access to applications which are run by the provider. This service is the most automated for the customer eliminating the need for installations, maintenance and upgrades.
Each of the three types of cloud-based solutions has its own strengths and weaknesses, but, despite this, there are some benefits which are shared between them:
The General Benefits of Cloud Computing
- Cost Efficiency: Most of the solutions offered in cloud computing drastically reduce expenditure on hardware; instead, businesses pay for the resources and services they use. This is usually the cost-effective choice.
- Scalability and Flexibility: Contracts offered by providers usually allow customers to scale their resources up or down based on their demand. Conversely, with an in-house data centre, once the investment is made, there is little room to tinker with the equipment.
- Enhanced Collaboration: With most services offered available worldwide, provided the user has an internet connection, teams can work on projects simultaneously, regardless of their location. This is particularly beneficial in the remote and distributed work environments of today.
- Innovation and time-to-market: After purchasing a playground for innovation, developers can quickly experiment with new ideas and deploy applications without wasting time setting up infrastructure. As a result of this saved time, companies can rapidly push out new products and features.
These benefits, and more, can be leveraged by businesses of all shapes and sizes to improve the quality of any end product. However, the wisest companies choose which type of services fits their workflow the most seamlessly.
Benefits of Cloud Technology For Different Businesses (With Examples)
Movements into the cloud during recent years have mostly been a result of the pandemic, when the need for online working increased by tenfold.
A lot of companies needed to adapt the way they operate to the new social distancing measures, and cloud-based solutions presented them the perfect tools to do so.
However, even after the pandemic, investment into cloud computing services is still on the rise. A study conducted by Zippia indicates that, in 2020, 61% of businesses moved their workloads into the cloud, and as of 2023, the percentage of companies using cloud services is around a staggering 94%.
The reasons behind these statistics are relatively simple to deduce. Cloud computing is inherently helpful across all industries and business sizes.
The types of businesses leveraging the power of the internet and cloud storage capacities include but are not limited to:
For startups, cloud solutions provide an affordable and agile platform to develop and launch products, one which can be adjusted side by side with the growth of the business. Operations are readily scalable with future operations without the initial overhead costs of hardware purchases.
It is much more common for startups to use services like Google Drive and DropBox to free up their communication channels and make their data easily transferable between several devices.
Small and Medium Enterprises (SMEs)
SMEs can leverage cloud-based tools to streamline their operations and make astute changes which guide them closer to meeting any changes in evolving markets and consumer demands.
BuildOps field service management software, for example, has been used by HVAC and similar
companies to bring greater efficiency to scheduling, invoicing and quoting processes.
Field management software, in general, is a perfect example of how the cloud can assist in streamlining workflows, enhancing customer experiences, and therefore improve overall operational effectiveness.
Though they received a massive surge in demand during lockdown, platforms like Shopify have remained widely used for good reason, the scalability of cloud solutions provides online retailers the opportunity to adjust resources to match increased customer demands during the busier shopping seasons.
Without these retailing cloud platforms and services, e-commerce sites often face crashes from overwhelming traffic as well as user interface and security problems.
Cloud providers in this sector often provide their own troubleshooting team, so if these issues still arise, the customer doesn’t have to worry about employing and paying staff to fix them.
With the ability to migrate legacy systems into the cloud by investing in cloud solutions, large enterprises can optimize their infrastructure utilization in order to reduce costs.
This is particularly true for companies looking to expand into foreign markets without building new offices, data centres and other forms of infrastructure.
The cloud computing industry has grown exponentially in recent years, and it’s easy to see why. The journey to success in today’s digital world requires businesses to be agile, innovative, and customer-centric. Cloud solutions cater to all of these requirements.
With investments into this technology only increasing, expect the cloud to remain a cornerstone of a diverse amount of industries, enabling companies to adjust to, what is for many, an ever-evolving landscape. It’s clear to see that embracing the cloud is far from being a COVID trend.
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