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All about cloud services and cloud providers

John Sears

John Sears


Sep 19, 2022


3 min read

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Cloud services have become essential for a wide range of businesses, providing improved flexibility over traditional computing architecture. A range of cloud models have emerged, meaning that those wishing to utilize the cloud have a wealth of options available.

However, the cloud itself can be a confusing technology for the uninitiated. So in this article we will explain all of the important concepts related to both cloud services and providers.

What are cloud services?

Cloud services refers to a range of functions that are offered to businesses and organizations via internet-based servers. The architecture used by cloud services differs from traditional architecture, which has always been based on physical hardware.

By utilizing cloud services, businesses gain access to easy and affordable applications and resources. Such services would otherwise be processor-intensive and expensive. Cloud access negates the need for internal infrastructure or hardware.

Cloud services are typically managed by external cloud providers, which offer all of the infrastructure required. For many cloud-based operations, this external hosting removes the need for organizations to host applications on their own servers. Such arrangements are often described as being “on-premise.”

Due to their method of delivery, cloud services are scalable across networks, meaning that they can grow with the demands of a business.

How are cloud services delivered?

A variety of different cloud services are available. Organizations must choose between various options, or sometimes even a mixture of them.

Cloud services made available via the internet are referred to as public cloud services. This form of cloud service makes it easy to share resources, enabling organizations to deliver features and capabilities that would otherwise be impossible, or at least extremely expensive.

Private cloud services refers to those provisions that are made available to corporate users and subscribers. This model utilizes the internal infrastructure of an organization. Private cloud services often suit organizations that work with particularly sensitive data.

Finally, a hybrid cloud environment essentially utilizes a mixture of public and private clouds. Proprietary software is typically used within hybrid models to enable communication between these disparate cloud services. Using a hybrid model enables a company to mix and match, taking advantage of the particular qualities of these two types of cloud services.

All types of cloud solutions

Aside from the distinction between private public and hybrid cloud services, several different types of services are available.

Software as a service

The first type is software as a service (SaaS), which has become the most popular model overall. This category offers a wide variety of services, including file storage, backup, web-based email, and project management tools.

Many notable examples of SaaS cloud services already available, including NordLocker, Dropbox, Slack and Microsoft Office 365. Each of these enable users to access, share, store, and secure information via cloud provisions.

Infrastructure as a service

The second popular form of cloud services is described as infrastructure as a service (IaaS). It offers the infrastructure associated with SaaS tools without requiring companies to maintain the infrastructure itself.

Infrastructure as a Service provides the complete data center framework for companies. This framework can be particularly useful for resource-intensive industries. Providers that deliver Iaas solutions typically offer a range of high-quality facilities. Consequently, these cost quite a bit of money each year. It is therefore rare for a private user to require infrastructure as a service. Overwhelmingly, this model is aimed at the corporate customer.

Platform as a service

Finally, platform as a service (PaaS) is a web-based environment, enabling developers to build applications within the cloud. PaaS offers a database-driven operating system and a programming language for cloud-based software. These features obviate the need to maintain and manage underlying elements.

Most people utilize cloud computing on a regular basis even if they don't realize its presence in their lives. Today, online services are typically stored in the cloud. Email providers, movie and television services, music platforms, popular video games, or storage mediums are all popular examples of services stored in the cloud.

The cloud has become so successful that much of the total enterprise workload is already stored on cloud services. In fact, we're only beginning to scratch the surface of what is possible with cloud computing.

Major cloud deployments

Cloud providers already offer a myriad of cloud services. These include creating applications and cloud services. Such services make it possible to deploy, build and scale applications for web, mobile, or API platforms.

The flexibility of the cloud has proved popular with developers that are testing and building applications. The cloud has played a major role in reducing application development costs via the scalability of cloud infrastructures. This reduction in costs has helped to attract developers. Many more cloud-based applications are therefore expected to emerge in the years to come.

One of the most obvious and popular usages of cloud services is the storage of data. Cloud providers offer vast amounts of storage capacity to both personal users and companies. And using the cloud reduces the need to utilize on-premise hardware architecture. Furthermore, this storage can be accessed from any location or device, adding convenience to the whole process.

Analyzing and unifying data across teams, divisions, and locations is a further critical value proposition. Cloud services can also collaborate with other technologies, such as machine learning and artificial intelligence. By utilizing AI, insights that enable more informed decisions can be created. This deployment of the cloud can also help reduce the strain on human resources within an organization.

It's also possible to connect with high-definition video and audio via cloud services. This utilization of the technology has become increasingly popular.

Advantages of cloud services

Advantages of cloud computing over traditional models include the following:

Costs involved

Cloud computing makes it possible for companies to significantly cut the costs of their operation. Expenses are reduced by diminishing the need for hardware databases, servers, and software licenses. The cloud can also be scaled over a period of time, enabling businesses to keep control over their costs in strategic fashion.

24/7 uptime

Cloud computing can be available all around the clock, with commercial services having a 99.99% uptime. Cloud servers and data centers are managed by external providers. This external management means that staff is not required to deal with systems internally.

Scalable and reliable

As mentioned previously, cloud services are hugely scalable, both users and resources being unlimited. Therefore, cloud systems can grow or retract with the needs of a company.

Automatic updates

Cloud services update automatically, providing valuable maintainability to companies. Automatic updates are not only convenient. They can also help to reduce labor costs. Skilled employees are also freed up to work in other areas rather than on the menial task of updating software.

Various locations

Cloud service providers have a multitude of datacenters. This diverse approach ensures that they are faster and more reliable than other services. Many cloud providers have a variety of data centers located all over the world, meeting the needs of a wide variety of customers.

Cloud platforms and software

Another important aspect of cloud services are cloud platforms. These are online environments that enable users to develop code and run applications. Cloud platforms are a PaaS service, providing an easily navigable online experience for organizations seeking to develop software.

Cloud software has also become increasingly popular. Full web applications are available via this integration. However, development costs associated with cloud software can be high.

Cloud software is provided via a cloud-native approach. Development is achieved via an application architecture combining small, independent and loosely coupled micro-services. Several of these services can be packaged together to create the cloud app. And this can then be optimized by organizations as required.

Cloud software is available on a 24/7 basis and can be accessed from anywhere in the world across multiple platforms. This level of access offers huge convenience for diverse customer bases. Flexibility is a major component in the success of cloud software.

Cloud services as professional services

Another common utilization of cloud services is delivering professional services. These functions enable customers to deploy the various types of cloud platforms. This deployment is popular with organizations that wish to assist their clients in the adoption of cloud-based technology. This functionality has therefore become particularly commonly used by consulting firms, system integrators, and other companies offering an array of professional services.

In this context, cloud services are extremely diverse. Companies delivering this form of cloud platform may offer cloud-readiness assessments, application rationalization, migration, deployment, customization, private and public cloud integration, and hybrid clouds, along with ongoing management of these services.

Companies that specialize in cloud deployment have become extremely valuable for a wide range of organizations. A diverse range of industrial sectors have engaged with cloud services.

Cloud services versus web services

Cloud services are often considered almost synonymous with web services. However, there are differences between the two. A web service offers a platform for applications or computers to communicate with one another over the internet. Therefore, web services are associated with machine-to-machine communication.

Conversely, cloud services are used when individuals or customers are consuming a service. Typically, cloud services relate to office productivity tools and other app-based functions.

However, cloud services and web services can be very closely entwined when delivered to individuals and organizations. Cloud services and web services can therefore form something of a hybrid model. This approach enables providers to deliver flexible applications and infrastructure that meet the needs of customers.

The future of cloud services

The utilization and availability of cloud services continues to expand. And this expansion is expected to continue. The utilization of cloud services has become commonplace, perhaps mainly due to the flexibility and convenience of delivery. The scalability of cloud services is clearly also a major advantage for many companies.

Now that the cloud has demonstrated its ability to work hand-in-hand within the corporate environment, most companies are moving at least some of their operations to cloud services. The cloud has offered constructive functionality in fields from application delivery through desktop virtualization, with an array of options in between. Cloud services have already transformed the way that businesses operate, and the way that people work on a daily basis.

And the superior storage options available in the cloud mean that most organizations and businesses are taking advantage of this innovation. The cloud has become an everyday part of both commerce, and increasingly involved with our everyday lives. The potential of cloud services is only just beginning to unfold.

NordLocker Cloud

NordLocker Cloud offers end-to-end encrypted cloud storage for individuals and businesses. It enables you to back up, store, and sync data privately and securely. You are also protected by the world's top cryptography algorithms and ciphers.

Secure cloud storage helps you and your team work more efficiently without compromising security. NordLocker Cloud also provides an easier way to protect your critical data from internal incidents and cybercrime.

John Sears

John Sears

Verified author

John believes that the best things in life are simple. He uses the same approach when he’s writing about online security. John says that his #1 pet peeve is phishing scams. Ironically, his favorite non-work related activity is fishing.