What are cloud services? A complete guide
The marketing world is becoming more digitized and dynamic, and marketing teams and executives have an increasing need to deliver optimized, efficient, and engaging campaigns.
A clear understanding of cloud services and tools will enhance your team’s efficiency, customer engagement, and sales. In this guide, you’ll learn:
- What cloud services are
- How cloud services work
- Types of cloud services
- Benefits of cloud services
- Cloud platforms
- The future of cloud services
What are cloud services?
Cloud services refer to software, application, or infrastructure resources that third-party providers host. These services are usually accessible via the internet. Cloud computing is a term companies use to describe cloud services. These two terms can be used interchangeably, according to the Corporate Finance Institute.
Companies like Google, Amazon, IBM, and Microsoft use cloud services for many different reasons — including reduced costs, accessible and collaborative communications between teams, and more secure business data.
These services are beneficial for businesses because they can be constantly updated and improved, providing companies with the latest technologies and features for them to implement in their teams and workflows.
Another reason why businesses choose to use cloud services is because cloud service providers take care of companies’ IT infrastructure management. This allows businesses to dedicate more of their efforts and focus to their business activities, products, and services.
How do cloud services work?
Cloud services function by harnessing a cluster of servers located remotely or connected via the internet. These servers undertake the roles of storing, managing, and processing data, supplanting the conventional local servers or individual computers. Once data is transmitted to the cloud, it gets disseminated among various servers, guaranteeing redundancy and consistent availability. This decentralized framework ensures the cloud is an incredibly dependable and efficient medium for a diverse range of IT resources.
Cloud services empower users by providing them access to data, applications, and online services independently of their physical location. It offers a platform for collaborative work environments as multiple users can access and work on the same data at the same time. It also allows businesses to scale their IT resources in response to their needs dynamically, providing flexibility and cost-effectiveness.
However, there are different types of cloud services available, and each of them has a specific set of tools and features from which your business or organization can benefit, depending on your needs.
Types of cloud services
Below you can read about the different types of cloud services and learn more about the different features and advantages of the following functionalities.
Software as a service (SaaS)
Software as a service, or SaaS, is one of the most popular types of cloud services. This is a cloud service where a service provider hosts the applications and makes them available to users via the internet. This means that users don’t need to install and maintain the software, and they can easily access it online.
Some examples of SaaS are:
- Google Apps (G Suite)
- Microsoft Office 365
Infrastructure as a service (IaaS)
Infrastructure as a service, or IaaS, is the cloud service that is an instant computing infrastructure, provisioned and managed over the internet. This feature makes it possible for businesses to manage their resources with more flexibility and scale on demand.
Some examples of IaaS are:
- IBM Cloud
- Microsoft Azure
- Amazon Web Services
- Google Cloud Platform
- Alibaba Cloud
- Oracle Cloud Infrastructure
Platform as a service (PaaS)
Platform as a service, or PaaS, provides a platform’s customers to develop, run, and manage applications without the complexity of building and maintaining the app’s infrastructure. This cloud service offers a robust framework for developers to build upon and use to create customized applications.
Some examples of PaaS are:
- Google App Engine
- IBM Cloud Foundry
- Red Hat OpenShift
- Oracle Cloud Platform
Function as a service (FaaS)
Function as a service, or FaaS, is a type of cloud service that allows developers to build, test, run, and manage applications without having to maintain the infrastructure. This is what is called a form of serverless computing.
Some examples of FaaS are:
- Amazon Web Services Lambda
- Google Cloud Foundations
- Azure Functions
- IBM Cloud Functions
- Microsoft Azure Functions
Benefits of cloud services
As you may already know by now, cloud services are extremely beneficial for businesses and organizations and can significantly increase the success of a company’s operations. Here is a list of some of the key benefits of cloud services:
- Scalability. Cloud services allow for easy scalability of infrastructure depending on the business’s needs. This adaptability makes it so organizations manage their resources effectively and easier, without having to pay for more than they use.
- Lower costs. By using cloud services, businesses have the opportunity and flexibility to decrease their capital and operating costs. Removing upfront costs for hardware and extensive IT teams can lead to noticeable cost savings.
- Increased flexibility. With cloud services, businesses have the ability to continue their work no matter where their employees are, as long as they have internet access and connection. This means that teams can also work more flexibly while still being collaborative, increasing productivity and efficiency.
- Security. Cloud service providers also make sure their software is secure by using features such as encryption and authentication. These features help businesses protect their sensitive information and keep their applications from being compromised and cyberattacked.
- Innovation. Cloud services provide businesses with the opportunity to develop and test new ideas without having to face substantial upfront costs. Being able to experiment without having to spend a big part of the budget fosters a culture of innovation and increases competitiveness for businesses.
Remember that to make the most out of cloud services and these benefits, you will need to study them closely and choose the right model and provider for your business. In the next portion of this guide, we will learn more about different cloud platforms and how you can know which one is the one for you.
Cloud platforms are a type of PaaS. They are the operating systems and hardware of servers in an internet-based data center. There are two primary types of cloud platforms:
- Public. A public cloud platform is hosted on the servers of a third-party cloud service provider, which delivers the cloud service over the internet. With this setup, hardware, storage, and network devices are shared among multiple users, providing an economical and flexible option for businesses.
- Private. A private cloud platform refers to those cloud computing resources that only one business or organization uses in an exclusive manner. This type of platform offers greater control and security, which is ideal for businesses that have strict compliance regulations or unique business needs.
As we progress ever more into a technologically advanced era, companies are increasingly embracing the use of cloud services. The shift to cloud platforms means a more efficient and scalable way to operate for businesses.
The future of cloud services
The increased use of cloud services continues reshaping the business landscape, making it have a great impact on the virtual industry. The growth of these services has benefited businesses and organizations by providing them with opportunities to grow, innovate, and keep themselves competitive by offering cost-effective, scalable, and flexible tools and solutions.
Here are some examples of new trends in cloud services that you may have started seeing in other businesses, industries, or in your daily life:
- Artificial intelligence and machine learning integration
- Serverless computing
- An increased focus on security, privacy, and compliance
Remember that the right cloud services solution can help you achieve the goals you set for your teams or businesses.
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Cloud services can bring a variety of benefits to the table, everything from reducing costs to making team communication more efficient and keeping data and sensitive information secured.
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