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What Are Cloud Services & How Can They Help Your Business?

If you’re a business owner managing huge amounts of data, chances are you’ve heard of cloud services.

Advancements in technology have enabled businesses to scale up much faster and facilitated the emergence of new fields. Businesses can now reach customers from almost every edge of the world through interconnectivity.

With business growth comes heavy data management, which requires a larger workforce and investment in more data centers. While data centers provide full control of your data without third-party involvement, they are expensive to install and maintain. In addition, a breach of your servers can lead you to lose all your data.

Cloud services come with peace of mind, knowing that all your data is secure and easily accessible. They also eliminate expenses involved with installing data centers, saving your business a lot of money.

To help you better understand cloud services, we’ll review what they are, how they work, and how they can benefit your business.

What Are Cloud Services?

Cloud services are all the technologies and infrastructure that allow users to store and transmit data in the infinite space of the world wide web (www). To access cloud services, you need to use cloud computing.

Cloud computing is the process of storing data and applications on remote servers and accessing them through the internet, rather than installing them on your computer hard drive.

The term cloud refers to the collection of web servers and computers that store and manage data. This process is called hosting and is done by a third party whose geographical location is almost always different from the users.

How Do Cloud Services Work?

To understand how cloud services work, we must first understand cloud computing architecture.

Cloud computing architecture is the components and subcomponents required to deliver cloud services. It is divided into two parts:

  • The Front End

This is the user’s computer, mobile phone, tablet, or any other technological device that gains access to the cloud by using an internet browser.

  • The Back End

This is the network of computers, host servers, central servers, and data storage systems that store and control the movement of data to and from the Front End.

The Back End observes automated rules known as protocols to ensure the security of the user’s data and control the data being pushed in and out of the servers. It does all the work and ensures the efficiency of the service and hence accessibility at all times.

The third-party providing the Back End services only owns the infrastructure, not the data. The co-relationship between the Front End and the Back End is what is referred to as the provision of cloud services.

As a business owner, when you open your browser and sign in to an application not installed on your computer or access documents that are not downloaded on your computer, you’re using a cloud service.

Types of Cloud Services

There are four types of cloud services. The type of cloud service you choose will depend on the nature of your business.

1. Infrastructure-as-a-service (IaaS)

This type of cloud service provides users with storage, network, and virtualization. The service provider creates multiple simulated environments or a single hardware system accessible to your entire team from different locations or devices. Without a data center, you don’t have to worry about physically updating or maintaining servers.

2. Software-as-a-service (SaaS)

In SaaS, the service provider grants you access to the software via a portal on a subscription basis. With this service, you don’t have to buy an entire software, and, in some instances, no software installation is required.

Through SaaS, users bypass software update requirements as they occur automatically. The service provider is solely responsible for making the required updates.

3. Platform-as-a-Service (PaaS)

PaaS is primarily provided to software developers to develop, run, and manage their own apps. This service eliminates building and maintenance costs of the underlying infrastructure. The vendor provides a server, the storage space, and the network. However, the user must manage the virtual infrastructure themselves.

4. Function-as-a-service (FaaS)

FaaS is a service primarily provided to developers that allows them to build, run, and manage their applications without concerns about managing the web hosting process, the operating system, or the virtual or physical server.

This differs from Platform-as-a-Service (PaaS) in that all functions are automated and managed by the provider. The user only handles managing their code.

How Cloud Services Can Benefit Your Business

The use of cloud services can significantly improve the delivery of services and teams’ operations. Implementing cloud services in your business comes with a range of benefits, including:

1. Facilitates Workforce Flexibility

Cloud services offer flexibility, which allows teams to access data from anywhere at any time, as long as they have internet connectivity. Your team’s work is not restricted to any specific location due to the non-physical aspect of cloud services.

You can do online recruitment from any geographical location without the need for relocation.

Cloud services facilitate remote working, which enhances workforce productivity. According to a nine-month study by Stanford, working remotely increases workforce productivity by 13% and work satisfaction by 50%.

2. Helps Reduce Expenses

Implementing cloud services in your business allows for space utilization―office space and infrastructure space.

With the ability to work remotely, you can scale down on office space and have a majority of your team work from home or at intervals. This can help you reduce rent costs and other costs associated with running a full office.

Physical data centers take up a lot of physical space and are expensive to build, install and maintain. Cloud services eliminate the need for data storage hardware, saving you from extra expenses.

3. Increases Workforce Collaboration

Businesses using cloud services have users communicate and share data seamlessly, regardless of the number, size, and location of teams. In addition, everything happens in real-time and, in turn, leads to faster service and project delivery.

4. Provides Systems Automation

Implementing cloud services means the virtualization of your business’s technological infrastructure. Frequent software updates, file version updates, and software integration updates prevent glitches that can cause service interruptions. The automation thereby saves you time that would have otherwise been lost by physically updating the hardware infrastructure, thus increasing productivity.

5. Helps Scale Up Your Business

Cloud services facilitate instant on-demand change when your business needs change. Since technology can no longer be obsolete, an investment in cloud services is money well spent. Should your business needs change, all you need to do is increase your bandwidth and storage to support new data.

Why You Should Work with Altek

At Altek, we understand the challenges involved with data management. We are here to provide you with data solutions and software infrastructure to help you focus on growing your business. Data security and customer satisfaction are at the core of our interests. We seek to build relationships, offer solutions and walk the journey with our customers. Contact us today to get started.

Image Source: Jirsak / Shutterstock

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