Examples of cloud computing

Top uses for consumers and businesses

How consumers use cloud computing

In simple terms, cloud computing is the delivery of computing services over the Internet. Many of the things you do every day are made possible through the cloud – like email, online banking, file storage and backup, social media and even online shopping. The cloud has become popular because it provides benefits to consumers and businesses alike including lower costs, easier access and higher reliability.

What's so good about the cloud?

For consumers, convenience is one of the biggest benefits of using the cloud. The commonality of the scenarios above is that your applications and data are stored in the cloud, not on your computer or mobile device. This gives you the freedom to access your apps and data from different Internet-connected devices. And because maintenance is automatic, there’s less to manage at your end. You don’t have to worry about installing software updates – it all happens in the cloud.

How businesses use cloud computing

You’re probably using cloud computing at work, too. Just like your personal email, your business email may also be cloud-based. Other business uses of the cloud include collaboration and communication; productivity; file backup; data analysis; tools for developing software; and more. Many organisations use cloud-based apps through a subscription model. It’s cost-effective because the organisation only pays for what it uses. And, it’s convenient and keeps people productive because they can access their apps and data from any Internet-connected device. Cloud computing also makes many business processes more reliable because data can be mirrored at multiple redundant sites on the cloud provider’s network.

Here are some examples of how businesses use cloud computing:

Communication

The cloud gives users easy, web-based access to communication and collaboration tools like email and calendaring. Messaging, and voice and video calling apps like Skype also take advantage of the cloud. Your messages and information are located on the service provider’s network rather than on your personal device.

Productivity

Office tools (like Microsoft Office 365) can be cloud-based, allowing you to connect to your most-used apps over the Internet. You can work in your document, presentation or spreadsheet software from nearly anywhere. With your information stored in the cloud, you don’t have to worry about losing your data if your device fails. Many apps can be run directly from your web browser without needing to download or install special software.

Business processes

Many sophisticated business applications such as customer relationship management, enterprise resource planning and document management can also be rented from a cloud service provider. This ensures the availability and security of your organisation’s business-critical resources – and lets you access these tools conveniently, through the web browser.

File storage

The cloud can be used for file storage. The advantage for you is easy backup – many cloud services automatically sync your files from your desktop. Also, if you switch to a different computer or mobile device, you can still retrieve your files. Organisations only pay for the storage used, and don’t have to maintain the infrastructure – the cloud service provider does this.

Backup and recovery

When your organisation relies on cloud services for backup and recovery, it can avoid capital outlay for infrastructure and management. Instead, the cloud services provider is responsible for managing data and meeting legal and compliance requirements. The cloud also provides higher flexibility in that it can accommodate unpredictable storage and backup demands. Your cloud services provider can also make recovery faster because your organisation’s assets are located over a network of physical locations rather than at one on-site data centre.

Application development

If you’re developing web, mobile or gaming apps, the cloud can help you quickly create cross-platform experiences that scale as your user base grows. Many cloud services include pre-coded tools – such as directory services, search and security – that can speed up and simplify your development.

Test and development

The cloud can provide an environment to help save costs and bring your apps to market faster. Rather than securing budgets and spending valuable project time and resources setting up physical environments, your teams can quickly set up and dismantle test and development environments in the cloud. You can scale these dev-test environments up or down depending on need.

Big data analytics

With cloud computing, you can tap into your organisation’s data to analyse it for patterns and insights, make predictions, improve forecasting and make other business decisions. Cloud services can provide your organisation with higher processing power and sophisticated tools for mining massive amounts of data, as well as the ability to quickly scale your environment as your data grows.

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