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What is Cloud Computing?

There has been a lot of talk about “the cloud” and “cloud computing” over the last decade. But what is cloud computing? Generally speaking, cloud computing is the delivery of applications and/or IT resources upon demand via the Internet. Rather than hosting software and applications on local machines, they are accessed remotely. The term “the cloud” can be used to refer to either the Internet or the remote servers that host the data you're accessing. Over the last 10 years, the shift from traditional software models to cloud computing has gained steady momentum. As we move forward, more and more of our computing will be done in the cloud. We’ll also see many new ways of collaborating from anywhere in the world using our mobile devices. Businesses are already running many different kinds of software in the cloud: from email to HR, accounting to customer relationship management (CRM).

Types of Cloud Services

There are two basic types or classifications of cloud computing provided by cloud computing companies: public and private. There is often little or no difference between public and private cloud architecture. The differences generally lie in who has access to them.

Public Cloud Services

If the services are offered over a network that is open to public use, it is referred to as a public cloud. These services can be offered for free or on a paid model. The security considerations for services made available through a public cloud can be considerable because most communication is made via the Internet over untrusted networks. This type of cloud service can be seen with companies like Amazon, Google, and Microsoft. These companies own and operate the infrastructure at their data centers and grant access to the general public via the Internet. However, some of them offer direct connect services as well.

Private Cloud Services

When the cloud services are operated for a single company or organization, it is called a private cloud. These private clouds can be hosted and managed internally by your own team, which requires maintaining your own data center (allocation of space, hardware, and environment controls that must be refreshed periodically). Alternatively, private cloud services can be managed externally by a third-party cloud computing company. Generally speaking, private clouds are preferred by larger organizations because they often meet their security and compliance requirements. Because of these considerations, many companies prefer to opt for an externally hosted cloud service run by a cloud computing company. When you utilize cloud services offered by one of these companies, you gain many benefits including a less hands-on management of the system and the ability to only pay for what you need.

Hybrid Cloud Services

Some companies desire to combine aspects of the different cloud types. For instance, they may choose to store sensitive data on an internal, private cloud but utilize applications hosted on a public cloud as part of a software service. As technology continues to change how we do business, most companies will find themselves using the cloud in some way. However, every company has different needs. That’s why you have to find the cloud computing solution that’s right for you. Learn more about Column Technologies’ Cloud Computing Services today!

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