What is Cloud Computing in Simplest Terms

cloud computing

Cloud Computing is the computing using resources – infrastructure or Software hosted on the internet either by a public cloud provider or hosted privately by local IT group of an organization.

Business today is changing fast & Cloud computing enables organizations to rapidly ramp up to match business needs by quickly provisioning the resources, cutting the time & costs for physical hardware /software order & deployment.

The Basics of Cloud Computing
There are different type of cloud types based on provider and services offered .

Cloud Computing Based on Services offered

  1. Software as a Service (SaaS).
    This cloud computing model  have  software applications hosted in the cloud by a provider , clients access and use application based on a subscription model over the internet using a client or browser. Software provider manage application , performance , capacity and security.
  2. Infrastructure as a Service (IaaS)
    This cloud computing model  offers physical servers, virtual machines, file storage and availability assets to run your custom applications.
  3. Platform as a Service (PaaS)
    This cloud computing model offers application platform with all the required software for your custom application so that you don’t have to install any extra software or utility.
  4. Metal as a Service ( MaaS )
    This cloud computing model lets you treat physical servers like virtual machines in the cloud. MAAS turns your bare metal physical servers into an elastic cloud-like resource which can be managed like a cloud.

Cloud Computing Based on provider

  1. Public Cloud Computing
    An organization utilizes public cloud services from an external provider such as Google , Microsoft or Amazon. Access is granted to organizations , on demand resources are provided and provisioning , maintenance, allocation , security is handled by cloud provider. An ideal choice for new companies who wants to scale up quickly to address raising demand of resources  but don’t want to invest money and time to setup their own infrastructure.
  2. Private Cloud Computing
    Private Cloud is hosted privately by local IT group of an organization  and not exposed to public , organization’s technical teams are responsible for provisioning ,allocation , maintenance, security etc. For example financial companies prefers to keep all the data in its own private cloud.
  3. Hybrid Cloud Computing
    it is mix of both Public & Private Cloud, some application which are general purpose, low risk are hosted in public cloud , and others dealing with proprietary & confidential data are hosted internally on a private cloud. For example for a video steaming site the videos can be hosted on the public cloud while the customer information may be stored in private cloud.

Advantages of Cloud Computing

  1.  Virtually unlimited Capacity – cloud computing gives virtually unlimited capacity. No need to stress over coming up short on capacity or expanding your present storage capacity.
  2. Simple access : By hosting on the cloud you can get to the data from anyplace, where there is an Internet. Right around 52% of organizations reported expanded information effectiveness and use.
  3. Enhanced Security : Cloud computing gives enhanced information security due to  built in security measures by cloud hosts.
  4. Cost Efficient – Cloud computing is presumably the most cost effective strategy to utilize, keep up and maybe upgrade. The cloud is much more accessible at less expensive rates and subsequently, can altogether bring down the organization’s IT costs. The US Federal Government saved $5.5 Billion every year by moving to Cloud Services and about, 47% of organizations said they witness lower working expenses after moving to cloud.
  5. Easy Backup and Reuse : Cloud computing makes it easy to back up and reuse due to easy accessibility as compared to accessing a physical device.

Common Examples of Cloud Computing

  1. Cloud Based Emails: Cloud computing empowers webmail customers to utilize cloud storage and give you the chance to check your messages from wherever on the planet. Microsoft Exchange Online , IBM LotusLive iNotes,Google Apps,Yahoo Zimbra are some of the popular cloud based email services
  2. Cloud Storage : Companies provide online cloud based storage which is used to store, share & retrieve data across multiple devices. Google Drive , Apple iCloud , Microsoft OneDrive, Dropbox, Box offers cloud storage and file syncing services.

Cloud computing security
Cloud security is has some weak point which can be addressed with proper planning and risk analysis before migration to cloud.Here are some challenges :
User side Challenges

  1. Not very secure API : APIs are used to access and manage cloud resources and they are exposed in open , if these APIs are not audited and verified for security they may expose authentication and other details.  Security details can be used by others to access your data and cause harm.
  2. Weak , broken or compromised authentication : Access to cloud for managing and accessing data need to have a strong authentication mechanism. More often a single factor authentication , weak or compromised password allows hackers to access your cloud data. You need to have strict multi factor authentication used by authorized persons only and proper guide lines not to expose account password details in an email, chat , forums etc.

Cloud Host side Challenges

  1. Exposed vulnerabilities : Cloud provider should ensure that their systems are patched for all security vulnerabilities as soon as patches are available. Exposed security holes can allows others to gain access to your data.
  2. Shared Systems : Cloud is hosted on shared hosts , network and storage and any issues with any of these component can affect entire cloud & impact everyone hosting on that cloud. Without proper checks and balances any DoS attack , resource intensive application or a injected malware can suck in resources from the pool and make entire pool unable to serv request.

 Cloud Computing Providers

Here are the main five prominent cloud computing providers .

1) Amazon Web Services
2) Google Cloud
3) Windows Azure
4) Rackspace
5) CloudSigma

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