Everything is in the cloud these days, and it’s common for businesses to take advantage of multiple cloud-based services. Not all of these services function in the same way though.
When you hear the term “cloud” used in reference to a business application, it is typically concerning cloud computing or cloud storage. These are not the same thing. Cloud storage is a specific type of cloud-based service, but cloud computing is a more generic term.
Many businesses can benefit from cloud storage and other cloud computing services; here are the key differences between them.
Cloud Storage: The Great Vault in the Cloud
You’re probably familiar with the idea of an external hard drive. Think of an old iPod, a standalone hard disc that can store large quantities of data. Businesses with terabytes of information to store need bulk storage like your external drive, and these days they tend to find it in the cloud.
Cloud storage offers nearly unlimited hard drive space. Employees can access data stored in the cloud from nearly anywhere, and modern cloud networks sync data quickly so that it can be shared across multiple devices almost instantly. You’ve probably used cloud storage without even meaning to, for example storing images or email.
Cloud Computing: Remote Control
When you store data in the cloud, it goes to a hard drive that is controlled by a computer similar to the one you used to send it. You don’t have any control over the computer where your information is sent.
In cloud computing, you can use the processing power of the remote computer to carry out tasks and run applications. That is the primary difference between cloud computing and cloud storage. Whereas with storage you pay for space, in cloud computing you pay to access more processing power and specialized applications.
Cloud computing is extremely versatile and allows a business to only invest in specific applications for a specific duration to meets their needs. A cloud solution can be spun up almost instantly and there is no to deal with the red tape of acquiring licenses and performing installations. When your contract runs out, you no longer have to pay for the application.
Similarly to cloud storage, cloud applications are remotely available, which means employees can be productive from anywhere on the planet. If an application suffers from technical issues, there is no impact to human resources from your company’s IT team. The provider takes care of the issue.
Hypothetically you could run an entire business using cloud resources. While companies tend to focus on a specific need or market segment, virtualization makes it possible to accomplish most tasks using the cloud.
How the Cloud saves Businesses Money
For a business, the cloud model offers many advantages over traditional on-premise software and storage. As with cloud storage, cost savings are one of the obvious wins. Capital expenses (CapEx) associated with the purchase of new computers, drives, and software become converted to operational expenses (OpEx) when the cloud model is used.
Compared to running dedicated resources on-premise, operational costs go up because of things like maintenance and upgrades, which the cloud provider takes responsibility for. These costs are offset by the elimination of capital expenses. Your business never has to suffer the devaluation of their technology, because the service commits to deliver up-to-date technology on a consistent basis and absorbs the cost to upgrade.
The Future of Business
If you haven’t tried a cloud solution yet, you should. Modern SAAS interfaces are simple to use, and you might be surprised at the robust applications you can afford. The cloud can allow startups to realize opportunities software prices might have kept them from in the past.
Companies that make use of cloud resources have already been shown to grow almost 20% faster than competitors. With network technology continuing to provide faster access to online resources, the cloud just makes sense.