Cloud computing: what is it and why use it?

According to an IDC study, cloud computing now accounts for more than one-third of all digital spending worldwide. Traditional and in-house IT spending continues to decline. Workloads continue to shift to the cloud, public or private because of its many benefits. The Gartner Group predicts that half of the world’s businesses that currently use the cloud will have moved to the cloud by 2021. Therefore, it becomes urgent to understand cloud computing and its possibilities that are intimately linked to digital transformation. It is the digital tool par excellence that gives agility and growth to businesses.

What is cloud computing?

Cloud computing is the provision of IT services on demand. The best-known form of cloud computing is SaaS. This model bases the operation of the software on a 100% cloud solution. The applications, the storage of information, the processing power and all the infrastructure that allows to operate it is done on the Internet. The consumption of these services is done on a pay-per-use basis. The company can connect to a cloud service to benefit from storage and to operate a solution from any computer. The only prerequisite for access to the cloud service, and even the free cloud, is that your computer can access the internet.

The fundamental concept of cloud computing is that the location of a piece of software, the hardware, or the operating system on which it runs, is irrelevant to the user. It is clear, however, that for many customers, the location of their services and data remains important. For individuals and SMEs, the free cloud offers storage services that benefit from cloud security. Online storage solutions, which include data storage and file storage, include an option that encrypts information. The online storage offered by Google Drive offers many GB of cloud storage. It can host photos taken by a smartphone as well as perform multimedia file storage or data storage.

How does cloud computing work?

Rather than owning their own IT infrastructure or data centers, companies can lease it from a cloud service provider. One of the benefits of this usage model is that companies avoid the upfront costs of building the infrastructure and the complexity of owning and maintaining it. They simply pay for what they use when they use it. The business model is also advantageous for cloud service providers. They can benefit from significant economies of scale by providing the same services to a wide range of customers.

What cloud computing services are available?

Cloud computing services today cover a wide range of options. They range from simple storage to networking, from online office automation to artificial intelligence. Virtually any service that doesn’t require you to be physically close to the hardware you use can now be delivered via the cloud. Storage services are the most used especially on the free cloud. Even if the capacities offered don’t reach 1 TB, free online storage alone is good news for small organizations.

What are some examples of cloud computing?

Cloud computing is the basis for a wide range of services. This includes consumer services like email or backing up photos on your smartphone. These services also allow large companies to host all their data and run all their applications in the cloud. The cloud computing model is so beneficial that even the IT giants are using it in-house. Cloud computing is the default option for many business applications. Software vendors are increasingly offering them subscription-based services over the Internet.

Why move to the Cloud?

Using cloud services means that companies do not have to buy or maintain their own IT infrastructure. There is no need to buy servers, update applications or operating systems. For basic applications, such as email, a provider that specializes in operating and securing these services has better skills than a commercial or industrial organization. Cloud services, therefore, provide a more secure and efficient service. The use of cloud services allows companies to be more agile. They complete projects faster without having to incur significant upfront costs and digital investments. They only pay for the resources of the cloud offering they consume.

When the workload increases, the elastic nature of the cloud offering allows it to evolve quickly. This is the principle of scale. If an application experiences significant peaks in usage, it makes financial sense to have it hosted in the cloud. The hardware and software dedicated to it do not remain idle internally for long. Hosting email or customer relationship management (CRM) in the cloud relieves the IS workload. The savings are accentuated by the fact that these applications do not generate much competitive advantage. Moving to a services model also shifts capital expenditures to operational expenditures.

The costs of migrating to the cloud

For most companies, a migration to cloud environments may not be straightforward. Existing applications and data define which systems and servers should be preserved as-is and which can be moved to a cloud infrastructure to be hosted. Cloud deployment is a potentially risky and costly operation that requires certain skills and tools. Migration to the cloud is a project that should not be underestimated.

Adapting the IS to a 100% mode of operation requires a careful study of the new total cost of the service. The need to rewrite applications to optimize them to port them to a cloud service can represent one of the most important costs of migration. This depends on their complexity and level of customization. The same is true for transferring data and backing it up between systems. The best way to avoid these pitfalls is to call on specialized consultants who can also advise you on billing options. Here again, the offers are not yet completely transparent.

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