Simply put, cloud computing is the delivery of computing services—servers, storage, databases, networking, software, analytics, and more—over the Internet (“the cloud”). Companies offering these computing services are called cloud providers and typically charge for cloud computing services based on usage, similar to how you’re billed for water or electricity at home.
Uses of cloud computing
You’re probably using cloud computing right now, even if you don’t realize it. If you use an online service to send email, edit documents, watch movies or TV, listen to music, play games, or store pictures and other files, it’s likely that cloud computing is making it all possible behind the scenes. The first cloud computing services are barely a decade old, but already a variety of organizations—from tiny startups to global corporations, government agencies to non-profits—are embracing the technology for all sorts of reasons. Here are a few of the things you can do with the cloud:
- Create new apps and services
- Store, back up, and recover data
- Host websites and blogs
- Stream audio and video
- Deliver software on demand
- Analyze data for patterns and make predictions
Benefits of Cloud Computing
Cloud computing is a big shift from the traditional way businesses think about IT resources. What is it about cloud computing? Why is cloud computing so popular? Here are 6 common reasons organizations are turning to cloud computing services:
Cloud computing eliminates the capital expense of buying hardware and software and setting up and running on-site datacenters—the racks of servers, the round-the-clock electricity for power and cooling, the IT experts for managing the infrastructure. It adds up fast.
Most cloud computing services are provided self service and on demand, so even vast amounts of computing resources can be provisioned in minutes, typically with just a few mouse clicks, giving businesses a lot of flexibility and taking the pressure off capacity planning.
3 Global scale
The benefits of cloud computing services include the ability to scale elastically. In cloud speak, that means delivering the right amount of IT resources—for example, more or less computing power, storage, bandwidth—right when its needed, and from the right geographic location.
On-site datacenters typically require a lot of “racking and stacking”—hardware set up, software patching, and other time-consuming IT management chores. Cloud computing removes the need for many of these tasks, so IT teams can spend time on achieving more important business goals.
The biggest cloud computing services run on a worldwide network of secure datacenters, which are regularly upgraded to the latest generation of fast and efficient computing hardware. This offers several benefits over a single corporate datacenter, including reduced network latency for applications and greater economies of scale.
Cloud computing makes data backup, disaster recovery, and business continuity easier and less expensive, because data can be mirrored at multiple redundant sites on the cloud provider’s network.
Cloud computing disadvantages
- Cloud computing is not necessarily cheaper than other forms of computing, just as renting is not always cheaper than buying in the long term. If an application has a regular and predictable requirement for computing services it may be more economical to provide that service in-house.
- Some companies may be reluctant to host sensitive data in a service that is also used by rivals. Moving to a SaaS application may also mean you are using the same applications as a rival, which may make it hard to create any competitive advantage if that application is core to your business.
- While it may be easy to start using a new cloud application, migrating existing data or apps to the cloud may be much more complicated and expensive.
- In one recent report a significant proportion of experienced cloud users said that they thought upfront migration costs ultimately outweigh the long-term savings created by IaaS.
- And of course, you can only access your applications if you have an internet connection.
Types of Cloud Computing
Cloud computing is providing developers and IT departments with the ability to focus on what matters most and avoid undifferentiated work like procurement, maintenance, and capacity planning. As cloud computing has grown in popularity, several different models and deployment strategies have emerged to help meet specific needs of different users. Each type of cloud service, provides you with different levels of control, flexibility, and management.
1 Infrastructure as a Service (IaaS)
Infrastructure as a Service, sometimes abbreviated as IaaS, contains the basic building blocks for cloud IT and typically provide access to networking features, computers (virtual or on dedicated hardware), and data storage space. Infrastructure as a Service provides you with the highest level of flexibility and management control over your IT resources and is most similar to existing IT resources that many IT departments and developers are familiar with today.
2 Platform as a Service (PaaS)
Platforms as a service remove the need for organizations to manage the underlying infrastructure (usually hardware and operating systems) and allow you to focus on the deployment and management of your applications. This helps you be more efficient as you don’t need to worry about resource procurement, capacity planning, software maintenance, patching, or any of the other undifferentiated heavy lifting involved in running your application.
3 Software as a Service (SaaS)
Software as a Service provides you with a completed product that is run and managed by the service provider. In most cases, people referring to Software as a Service are referring to end-user applications. With a SaaS offering you do not have to think about how the service is maintained or how the underlying infrastructure is managed; you only need to think about how you will use that particular piece software. A common example of a SaaS application is web-based email where you can send and receive email without having to manage feature additions to the email product or maintaining the servers and operating systems that the email program is running on.
Cloud Computing Deployment Models
A cloud-based application is fully deployed in the cloud and all parts of the application run in the cloud. Applications in the cloud have either been created in the cloud or have been migrated from an existing infrastructure to take advantage of the benefits of cloud computing. Cloud-based applications can be built on low-level infrastructure pieces or can use higher level services that provide abstraction from the management, architecting, and scaling requirements of core infrastructure.
A hybrid deployment is a way to connect infrastructure and applications between cloud-based resources and existing resources that are not located in the cloud. The most common method of hybrid deployment is between the cloud and existing on-premises infrastructure to extend, and grow, an organization’s infrastructure into the cloud while connecting cloud resources to internal system.
3 On premises
Deploying resources on-premises, using virtualization and resource management tools, is sometimes called “private cloud”. On-premises deployment does not provide many of the benefits of cloud computing but is sometimes sought for its ability to provide dedicated resources. In most cases this deployment model is the same as legacy IT infrastructure while using application management and virtualization technologies to try and increase resource utilization.
Cloud management means the software and technologies designed for operating and monitoring applications, data and services residing in the cloud. Cloud management tools help ensure cloud computing-based resources are working optimally and properly interacting with users and other services.
Cloud Management Strategies
Cloud management strategies typically involve numerous tasks including performance monitoring (response times, latency, up-time, etc.), security and compliance auditing and management, and initiating and overseeing disaster recovery and contingency plans.
With cloud computing growing more complex and a wide variety of private, hybrid, and public cloud-based systems and infrastructure already in use, a company’s collection of cloud management tools needs to be just as flexible and scalable as its cloud computing strategy.
Cloud based Management System (CBMS)
Is a tool specially designed to help any organization with successful implementation and maintenance of the standards and regulations that matters to its industry. They normally guide you, step-by-step, through implementation of some specific Management System Standards.
These solutions in general will help any organization formally establish, document and/or better integrate and/or disseminate its policies, processes, procedures and objectives, well as and continually evaluate and improvement performance.
Here are just a few high-level advantages that a cloud-based Management System can offer:
- Centralized application – All Management System processes and related information are in one place, thereby increasing effectiveness and efficiency, reducing bureaucracy and information search times.
- Low Capital Expenses – cloud-based model means you can upgrade to the electronic Management System you want (and need) instead of sticking with an inadequate, inefficient paper-based system or succumbing to an inferior automated system just because it’s what you can afford. Predictable subscription-based payments based on the number of users accessing the service means there are no surprises or unforeseen IT expense increases to contend with; this makes budgeting easier.
- Secure Anytime, Anywhere Access – The cloud-based Management System offering is, by definition, remotely accessibly, yet enabled in a highly secure environment. Anywhere, anytime access allows geographically separated teams to enjoy greater collaboration with colleagues and suppliers.
- Quick, Easy Deployment – Since a cloud-based Management System solution is delivered over the Internet, which completely eliminates the need for installation and set-up at your facility, implementation is fast and easy. This ability to get up and running quickly can jumpstart your compliance efforts and deliver a much faster (and higher) return on investment.
- Increased Business Agility – the scalable infrastructure makes it easy to add more users and/or increase storage as your business needs grow or change. For example, you may opt to begin with a minimal number of users and/or a single Management System application and later expand to different departments and/or add more applications as needed. A cloud-based Management System solution provides infinite scalability, so there is little planning required on your part.
- Go green – Easily go paperless and contributes to protecting of the environment.
- Decreased IT Headaches – No local infrastructure eliminates the need to invest in a large internal IT staff and allows your existing team to avoid the on-going IT maintenance hassles of traditional on-premise ownership. Software installation, configuration, and connectivity policies and procedures are provided by the solution provider experts, who should understand your compliance concerns.
A cloud based Management System should offer some of the following features:
- On line help and/or tutorials
- Documentation creation and control thru a Document Management System
- Project and/or task management
- Corrective action tracking
- Costumer Complaint tracking
- Non conformities tracking
- Internal Audits Management
- Management Review control
- Social messaging
- User management
- Blueprint One World: Governance & Compliance solution
- Conformio: Compliance solution
- ERA: Environmental compliance solution
- IMSXpress: Compliance solution
- IQS: Enterprise QMS
- Master Control: QMS
- Nebusis Cloud Services: Compliance Solution
- Qualio: QMS Compliance Solution
- Safety Evolution: EHS Management
- SafetySync: Health & Security Management
- Velocity EHS: Compliance Management
Luis R Castellanos
Nebusis Cloud Learning Manager