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Cloud-based Solution

A cloud-based solution (or simply “cloud”) is the type of software that works on top of cloud computing technology. As a result, the key to understanding the cloud is to figure out “what is cloud computing.”

In simpler terms, cloud computing means storing and accessing your data and/or programs over the internet in contrast to using your hard drive. In some way, it’s similar to electricity. You have and use it but no need to build a whole power plant in your backyard.

With cloud computing, you work & manage your data remotely. And so the “cloud” component in cloud-based software implies hosting the software in the cloud.

What problems is it designed to solve?

  • 1.
    Limited access. Cloud-based technology provides mobility and constant connection. Users have access to their data as long as they have a connection to the internet.
  • 2.
    Data sharing. The cloud has fully transformed our concept of file sharing. Now you just send the link to the needed file or folder and don’t even need to drag’n’drop or copy them.
  • 3.
    Wasted time & money resources. Working on a pay-for-use basis, most cloud-based solutions are arranged in such a way that you launch them and that’s it. Your cloud provider takes care of all the rest: any technology issues, innovation, etc., etc. And so you won’t waste your resources for risk prevention and management.
  • 4.
    The challenge of growth capacity. The bigger your business, the more data you store. With the cloud & its unlimited storage capacity, your heavy data aren’t a problem anymore.
  • 5.
    Old technology. Cloud computing means automatic software updates you receive on a regular basis. This enables your business to move with the times and use only the latest software versions.
  • 6.
    Disaster recovery. The cloud also guarantees that your data are backed up. And even if any disaster occurs and you lose them, you can restore them easily.

Types of cloud-based solutions

SaaS

Software as a Service is the most common type of cloud business solutions, owned and managed by an IT service provider. The cloud, in turn, only hosts and maintains the app as well as its infrastructure. The end-user then subscribes to a tool via the internet, accesses it online immediately, and pays for its usage only.

Examples: digital asset management, email marketing software, and web hosting tools.

Pros

  • 1.
    Increased accessibility
  • 2.
    Scalability
  • 3.
    Low maintenance costs
  • 4.
    Effortless deployment process, including upgrading

Cons

  • 1.
    Security issues
  • 2.
    Low performance
  • 3.
    Integrations & compatibility

IaaS

Infrastructure as a Service allows customers to rent infrastructures like storage space, dedicated hardware, or servers from the cloud provider. Many businesses choose an outsource infrastructure due to its scalability potential, time-efficiency, and budget constraints. So you don’t spend your time and money on buying hardware, but focus on what really matters – your software development.

Examples: Amazon Web Services and Windows Azure as the largest & most famous IaaS providers in today’s market.

Pros

  • 1.
    Dynamic & on-demand scalability
  • 2.
    Flexibility
  • 3.
    Lower downtime

Cons

  • 1.
    Lack of control
  • 2.
    Security risks
  • 3.
    Costly upgrades and maintenance

PaaS

Platform as a service is where customers develop, run, and manage their applications. This is why PaaS usually goes side by side with IaaS. An IT service provider would also need a platform where they deploy and manage their tool.

Examples: Windows Azure offers a PaaS where developers would be equipped with resources of Node.js, Python, Java, etc.

Pros

  • 1.
    Cost-efficiency
  • 2.
    Freedom of action, with easy coding, integrations, and updates
  • 3.
    Increased control and management

Cons

  • 1.
    Vendor in-lock
  • 2.
    Data security
  • 3.
    Compatibility with existing infrastructure

Private vs. Public cloud

Private cloud

The difference also exists on the level of hosting. The private cloud is developed & used by one organization only. So your data center resources are stored either locally (on your own servers) or by a third-party vendor (also locally but by another company). Hewlett Packard Enterprise (HPE), Microsoft, and Dell are among the top private cloud providers.

Pros

  • 1.
    Security
  • 2.
    Performance
  • 3.
    Scalability

Cons

  • 1.
    High prices
  • 2.
    The lack of mobility

Public cloud

The public cloud is when you share your cloud computing resources with other businesses. Google Drive, Amazon S3, and OneDrive are the three most known examples of the public cloud.

Pros

  • 1.
    Reduced technical complexity
  • 2.
    Regular updates
  • 3.
    Affordability & cost agility

Cons

  • 1.
    Security issues
  • 2.
    Minimum control

Challenges of cloud computing solutions

Over-dependence on the Internet

Running & deploying your application online is good when it comes to initial costs, the level of scalability, or disaster recovery. But all these benefits pop like a bubble when you experience any connection problems.

Your only choice here is to pay increased attention to the choice of your cloud-based service provider. So your business wasn’t placed on pause one moment due to connectivity.

Vendor lock-in

When you start to research cloud services, you’ll discover the whole pool of options. It’s like an embarrassment of riches, this market – with a very wide price & feature range.

But here’s another reason for you to be really cautious about choosing your provider. It’s very difficult & costly to switch providers, especially when your operations are already tied to a particular cloud.

High maintenance costs

Of course, a cloud-based solution is the best option when you’ve just launched your business. You don’t need to spend your time and money on buying and installing all that hardware.

But in the long run, on-premise service costs less. You don’t have to pay monthly for storing and maintaining your data. So everything you spent in the beginning is your investment in the future.

Security threats

To some extent, cloud computing is one of the most secure technologies available today. Still, hackers are perfecting their malware all the time. So it’s too early to write them off.

Alternatives to cloud business solutions

Cloud vs. On-premise

Traditionally, business owners choose between the cloud and on-premise software. Unlike cloud-based, on-premise software gets installed on the company’s servers and operates locally. For a very long time, it was the only option available for businesses. And so many companies were choosing it until cloud computing appeared.

Today, security and reliability are two leading factors why businesses consider on-premise. Since you’re in full control of your software in case of local storage, you can take additional security measures.

With better security (maybe (!) as you never know what else hackers will make up), you yet spend lots of time and effort on updating and expanding your infrastructure. On-premise also means less scalability and flexibility as compared to the cloud.

Cloud vs. Hybrid

As the name suggests, the hybrid is something in-between an on-premise and cloud-based solution. In this case, a company uses the infrastructure of both. For example, it hosts its sensitive info in the local storage and uses the cloud-based infrastructure for less important data for saving costs.

The hybrid cloud is good for distributing your workload based on security, costs, performance, etc. It takes the best out of on-premise solutions and the cloud and combines it in one solution.

Still, the hybrid cloud also means an additional complexity to your software and business operations. There is also the management question as you take care of two opposing technologies simultaneously.

Cloud vs. Edge computing

Edge computing is the technology that must help you solve your connection issues with the cloud. With edge computing, you bring your data storage and computing power closer to your device. And so your data are purposely processed near the data source, which eliminates waiting time and saves bandwidth.

As you then understand, no need to counterpose edge computing to the cloud. These two technologies supplement each other.

Cloud vs. NAS

Network Attached Storage is an internet-connected device (think about it as a small computer) placed in your home or office and used to store your data. Here we speak about storing data only, not the infrastructure.

Unlike the cloud, NAS offers you storage within one, local network. With the cloud, you’re renting space somewhere else. Thus, the benefits of NAS over the cloud are obvious. With your files stored locally, you get better performance, improved access, and security.

The cloud, in turn, is more reliable and flexible. It provides you with more features, for example, video editing or previewing your files. It’s more suitable for file sharing too.

Conclusion

This is a brief explanation of cloud computing & the functionality of cloud-based solutions. We’ve discussed its basic advantages and disadvantages, plus the difference of the cloud from other technologies available in this field.

Look through other terms and definitions in our glossary if you want to be aware of the topic of digital asset management and cloud technology.

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