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IT Compliance

3 Types of Cloud Computing and What They Mean for Your Business

Joseph Sena

IT specialist

Cloud computing has rapidly changed the way that organizations around the world manage their data. Organizations no longer have to store information on-premise, which is expensive and difficult to maintain. Instead, they can use cloud infrastructure solutions, which are a more flexible and cost-effective way to manage data.

There are three types of cloud computing: private clouds, public clouds, and hybrid clouds. Additionally, there are three different types of cloud computing services. All three cloud computing models are valuable ways to store and share information securely, especially in today’s age of remote work. Let’s take a look at the different types of cloud solutions on the market and the benefits they offer.

Key Takeaways

  • Cloud computing is when an organization or third-party provider uses an internet connection to deliver IT services to end users.
  • Public clouds have multiple users sharing server space, while private clouds belong entirely to a single organization. Hybrid clouds combine aspects of both.
  • There are three types of cloud computing services: infrastructure, platform, and software as a service.
  • Cloud computing is a rapidly growing technology, and most people already use some form of cloud technology in their daily lives.

What Is Cloud Computing?

Cloud computing uses the internet to deliver IT and tech services to both companies and individuals. As of 2023, the average person already uses 36 cloud-based services every day. Rather than storing data on-premise in a server at your home or office, cloud providers store their client’s data in secure data centers, which are strategically located around the world. The data is then transmitted to the end user via the internet.

Cloud technology has quickly become mainstream because it is highly flexible and scalable. Users can access the apps and services they need on-demand, regardless of where they are or what device they’re using. It also means that organizations no longer need to have servers in their offices. This saves space and conserves valuable resources like electricity and labor. Cloud computing also offers scalability, which means that you can adjust or expand the services you’re using as your business grows.

What are the 3 Main Types of Cloud Computing?

Private Clouds

Private clouds are cloud servers designed for a single organization or entity. Many large organizations have internal private clouds for their teams. This means that they do not share server space with any other organizations. Private clouds can be managed internally or by a third-party cloud service provider.

While private clouds are more expensive to set up and maintain than public clouds, they are often necessary for organizations that require high levels of security. For example, organizations in highly regulated industries like healthcare or defense often use private clouds to maintain compliance. Organizations that deal with large volumes of valuable customer data can also benefit from using private cloud storage.

Public Clouds

Public clouds are arguably the most popular form of cloud computing. The three largest public cloud providers on the market are Amazon Web Services (AWS), Microsoft Azure, and Google Cloud. You likely already use some form of public cloud for data storage in your personal life, even if you don’t realize it. For example, many iPhone users rely on Apple’s cloud technology to manage their personal documents, music, and more.

Many growing organizations use public clouds because they are affordable and easy to scale as your business grows. Most public cloud providers use a simple monthly subscription pricing model. With a public cloud, you’ll share server space with others, but your data will be siloed for security purposes.

Because public cloud deployment models are so easy to set up, they’re a great option for entrepreneurs, startups, or any organization that needs straightforward IT infrastructure. However, they may not be able to handle more complex computing needs, as you may not be able to configure the service to an appropriate level of security.

Hybrid Clouds

Hybrid clouds combine aspects of public and private clouds to create a custom cloud environment. The public and private aspects of a hybrid cloud are typically integrated, so they function as one system for employees. Hybrid clouds also balance affordability, scalability, and security, making them a popular choice for rapidly growing organizations.

A hybrid approach is a good option for organizations that need more security than a public cloud can offer, but don’t have the resources for a fully private cloud. For example, you might use a private cloud to store sensitive or regulated data and then use a public cloud for day-to-day operations. Public clouds and private clouds can also balance each other out when high workloads happen, preventing devastating outages.

What Are the 3 Main Types of Cloud Computing Services?

Cloud computing services are services provided by a third party through the internet using cloud technology. Many modern IT departments rely heavily on these services to optimize their systems and workflow. These cloud computing services can be divided into three main categories.

Infrastructure as a Service

Infrastructure as a service, or IaaS, is when a third-party provider provides all of your IT infrastructure through the cloud. This is a done-for-you approach that works well for SMBs that don’t want to manage their IT on-site, don’t need custom applications, and want to keep costs manageable. IaaS providers manage your servers, data center, and network for you, and then you’ll configure your apps and operating system to suit your needs.

Most major cloud storage providers use an IaaS model. For example, AWS and Microsoft Azure are both IaaS providers. IaaS can be configured in both public and private cloud setups and is scalable.

Platform as a Service

Platform as a service, or PaaS, is the next of the three types of cloud services. PaaS providers also manage your servers, data center, virtualization, and network configuration. However, they also manage your operating system and middleware, which your team can then use to create their own custom applications.

PaaS is popular among companies that need to build their own applications. The cloud platform allows application development teams to work seamlessly in the same environment. Many major IaaS providers also offer complementary PaaS programs.  For example, AWS offers Elastic Beanstalk while Google offers the Google App Engine.

Like IaaS, PaaS platforms are usually affordable and scalable. It also gives your team more control over your workflow, as you’ll be able to use development tools to create custom software applications directly in your systems.

Software as a Service

Software as a service, or SaaS, has become very popular in recent years, as it allows entrepreneurs and teams to work remotely using just an internet connection. SaaS platforms provide an entire software program as a web application. They also manage their own data centers, servers, and network connection.

Some examples of popular SaaS programs are Google Drive, Dropbox, Salesforce, and Adobe Creative Cloud. The SaaS industry is currently booming as teams use these cloud-based applications to streamline remote work. As a result, new SaaS products are hitting the market all frequently.

SaaS programs are excellent tools for everyone from entrepreneurs to large corporations. They make it easy to share documents and handle a variety of work tasks right from a web browser. Many SaaS programs work on mobile devices as well.

How Does Cloud Computing Apply To Me?

You probably use some form of cloud computing in your daily life even if you don’t realize it. For example, many people use SaaS programs to curate and listen to their music library or use Google Drive to store their documents, photos, and other digital media.

Cloud computing can also make your professional life much easier, whether you’re an entrepreneur, part of a startup, or part of a large corporation. Cloud computing makes it much easier to work remotely while still keeping your data secure. For growing businesses, cloud computing is an economically savvy way to handle data storage and other challenges. The cloud is also a very helpful tool for disaster recovery since your data is kept securely off-site and can still be accessed even if your on-premise technology is damaged.

How Do I Know Which Cloud Service To Use?

With so many cloud service providers out there, it can be difficult to determine which one is the best fit for your needs. Ultimately, the right cloud service for you will depend on your organization’s unique needs.

If you’re working independently, SaaS programs that use a public cloud will likely be appropriate for your needs. Larger teams will likely need to use IaaS or PaaS programs, depending on whether you need to develop your own apps or not. If you need additional security measures, you may opt to use a private or hybrid cloud rather than a public cloud.

There are a variety of factors to consider when choosing a cloud provider. The first is cost and value for money. What does their subscription model look like and how does that align with your budget? You’ll also need to consider if their services are scalable or not – can you continue to use their services as your organization grows? Finally, you’ll need to consider the security measures the provider takes as well as the level of customer service they offer.