Cloud computing harnesses the power of the Internet to allow organizations to remain productive despite the COVID-19 pandemic and work from home arrangements. The technology also helps businesses maximize their resources because they don’t need to buy their physical servers. Everything is online. Everything is in the cloud.
The National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) defines cloud computing as a new business model that allows “ubiquitous, convenient, on-demand network access to a shared pool of configurable computing resources (e.g., networks, servers, storage, applications, and services) that can be rapidly provisioned and released with minimal management effort or service provider interaction.”
We’ll learn more about this cutting-edge technology as we explore the intricacies and essential characteristics of cloud computing.
Cloud Computing in a Nutshell
Like clouds that are always present in the sky, cloud computing is a technology that allows users to have 24/7 access to data and information with the help of virtual resources accessible online.
As outlined in the NIST definition, these resources include the following:
What differentiates cloud computing is that it is convenient and on-demand. It has minimal management effort from the end of the cloud computing providers. Companies can just pay for what they need. They don’t need to set up their physical servers in their offices.
The term ‘cloud’ emerged from the practice of using cloud drawings to represent networks when done in the context of computing diagrams or communication systems. The same cloud diagram became synonymous with the Internet when it boomed during the 1990s. An earlier US Patent by Cabletron Systems, filed on January 28, 1994, included the same cloud diagram.
The working definition of cloud computing underwent several years of revisions amounting to 15 drafts, with the first in November 2009. The final definition made its way to the NIST Special Publication 800-145.
But even without the official declaration, the cloud computing definition of NIST has been the de facto definition included in the InterNational Committee for Information Technology Standards (INCITS).
With the vast improvement of technology through the years, the definition of cloud computing considered its emerging capabilities that made the technology a benchmark of many industries.
Essential Characteristics of Cloud Computing
The NIST provided a list of the standard features that cloud computing should have at its core.
A cloud computing customer can access the infrastructure capabilities such as network storage and server time without asking permission from the provider. The access credentials are unilateral, automatic, and do not require human interaction from the service provider. The user has flexibility and practicality for any situation.
Wide Range of Network Access
Organizations that subscribe to cloud computing should have access to the vast array of resources from the provider, from databases to the applications that process them. Standard mechanisms and protocols are available through thin or thick (full-featured) client platforms via smartphones, laptops, tablets, and workstations.
Cloud computing service providers typically pool their resources to benefit multiple subscribers or tenants. For organizations whose personnel are in work-from-home setups, the versatility of cloud computing can allow various authorized users to access the resources simultaneously according to demand.
The resources available via the cloud are scalable according to the needs of the customers. Whether an organization requires massive resources to keep up with business demand or a specific amount of data just to focus on a handful of clients, cloud computing can deliver.
Cloud computing systems are capable of optimizing resources for cost efficiency with the help of abstract metering. Processing power, network bandwidth, or storage are just some of the resources that can undergo optimization depending on the number of users. There is an efficient monitoring system in place that provides transparency for both the customer and the service provider.
Cloud computing takes on different service models to provide flexibility and scalability to customers on-demand.
Software as a Service (SaaS)
Software as a Service allows cloud computing customers to utilize software over the Internet for a monthly subscription fee. The primary advantage is that users do not need to install and run specific software applications on their computers. Everything is online, and the user only needs to log in with their account credentials.
The access is available 24/7 on-demand. There is also no need to establish any interaction with an IT specialist from the service provider to access the software or worry about updating the software for patches and fixes. The cloud will handle everything.
Transparency is one of its greatest strengths because customers do not need to worry about any hidden charges. The pricing for the software is set in stone and viewable anytime. Customer service is also on-hand to provide support for the user of the software via the remote server.
More importantly, the use of the software is scalable, whether for personal use or enterprise-level businesses. The cloud can adapt without sacrificing the quality of security, maintenance, and compliance.
Infrastructure as a Service (IaaS)
Infrastructure as a Service offers cloud-based services such as networking, virtualization, or storage. The cost is pay-as-you-need and provides a more reasonable alternative to procuring funds for on-premise infrastructure. Organizations can divert these infrastructure funds to more pressing business needs and goals.
The maintenance of IT infrastructure is not a joke because it is labor-intensive and expensive. Subscribing to an Infrastructure-as-a-Service cloud computing delivery model makes more sense because companies can get results without cumbersome investments.
Platform as a Service (PaaS)
Platform as a Service allows cloud computing customers to access software and hardware tools over the Internet cloud. This service model benefits developers of applications primarily to help them create customizable software. Its strength lies in the ease of delivery and uses because developers do not need to start from scratch by writing extensive code.
Cloud computing platforms are accessible round the clock and scalable according to the size and preferences of businesses. Virtualization technology runs this service model.
Platform as a Service can be delivered through private or public clouds. It can also be a blend of both with the use of hybrid clouds.
Under a public cloud, the customer can control the deployment of the software. At the same time, the provider will supply all the necessary IT components for the application, such as networks, storage, operating systems, servers, and databases.
The private cloud delivery model operates by providing the software or appliance within the customer’s firewall through its on-premises data center.
Tactical Advantages of Cloud Computing
Emergencies occur, especially natural calamities and even health situations such as the present COVID-19 pandemic. Companies may not avoid all worst-case scenarios, but they can plan to respond during these disasters.
Entrusting vital resources to cloud computing service providers is a cost-efficient plan because it can contribute to business continuity when emergencies happen.
Even with a skeleton staff, a company can keep the lights on with the help of cloud technology. They do not have to worry about physical servers because the corporate data is accessible over the cloud. The data centers of cloud computing providers have redundant power supplies, back-ups, and cooling systems to help protect the data integrity of their clients.
During today’s COVID-19 pandemic, businesses continue to operate even if their crucial personnel work from home because authorized employees can access corporate data online.
Strengthening of Security
Cybercriminals remain a glaring security issue for organizations and businesses. They are relentless and always keen on evolving to exploit new vulnerabilities. By entrusting their operations to cloud computing, companies have a dependable shield of IT experts concentrating on securing corporate data online. Cloud computing providers dedicate their time and resources to ensure the protection of online data against digital attacks. Let the experts handle cybercriminals.
A key aspect of cybersecurity strength is multiple authentications, endpoint encryption, and strict guidelines to protect the enterprise from advanced persistent threats.
Cloud computing allows businesses and organizations to leave room for growth or scale down to meet their business demands. Whatever the needs of the client, cloud infrastructure vendors can keep up as valuable partners.
If a company needs to accommodate a sudden surge in productivity, cloud computing can provide additional resources for both hardware and software.
If a client needs to transfer the physical location of their stores, they do not need to spend expenses on buying new hardware and servers. Companies can simply connect virtually to the cloud infrastructure and merely continue their productivity.
Reduction of Capital Expenditure
It is always a welcome relief when a company can avoid unnecessary costs or save expenses on capital expenditure. Instead of purchasing their servers, software, and infrastructure, organizations can focus on cost efficiency by subscribing to cloud computing services.
The reliability of cloud platforms also contributes to productivity boosts to the organization. A Service Level Agreement (SLA) between the service provider and the client company will ensure accountability for both sides, especially the need for continuous security upgrades and updates.
What You Need in Cloud Computing
It is typical to experience confusion in understanding the essential characteristics you receive from a cloud subscription. Non-negotiable provisions include a wide range of network access, resource pooling, on-demand self-service, and rapid elasticity.
The industry and scale of the organization will also best determine the service model that they must adopt. There are advantages to choosing Software-as-a-Service, Infrastructure-as-a-Service, or Platform-as-a-Service as the cloud model of your company.
To acquire the benefits of the cloud infrastructure, such as on-demand flexibility, disaster recovery, security boost, and reduction of capital expenditure, it is best to have a team of experts that will integrate cloud computing technology as one of your managed IT services.
Unparalleled Experience in Cloud Security
RSI Security is adept at handling all the security compliance, best practices, and overall strategy of relying on the remote access of cloud infrastructure. We are fully aware that cybersecurity threats are relentless in evolving to exploit vulnerabilities. Our team is here to secure and eliminate all these threats.
More importantly, we are here to protect the integrity and safety of your vital corporate data with our proven track record in handling cloud infrastructure.
Internal cybersecurity protocols and third-party security are the premium priorities of RSI Security in protecting your network and enterprise from data breaches. Here is a list of our capabilities as a cloud infrastructure sentry against cybercriminals.
The Cloud-Based Security Services of RSI Security
- Vulnerability Assessments and Management
- Cost-effective, Flexible, and Scalable Protection
- Patch Management
- Timely Threat Detection, Response, and Remediation
- Cloud Architecture Assessment and Build
- Security Governance Strategy and Audits
- Web Application Security
- Comprehensive Threat Monitoring and Analytics
- Protection against Internal and External Threats
- Identity and Access Management
Advantages of RSI Security as a Cloud Partner
There are no substitutes for expertise and experience. RSI Security has both, and we seek to improve the performance of our clients further by offering our professional competence.
We have state-of-the-art tools and security protocols to help implement an intelligent and scalable security system for your business. We understand that cost efficiency and the protection of reputation are priorities in any industry.
RSI Security will offer your company a competitive edge with our comprehensive benefits for cloud infrastructure clients:
- Deeper cloud security integration across all departments
- Automation and coordination of security resources in the cloud
- Increase of cloud security agility along with risk reduction
- Holistic optimization of your cloud security program
- Integration of cloud security with governance and compliance protocols
- Alignment of cloud security practices with strategic business goals
Trust RSI Security to help you protect your vital corporate data each time you use cloud infrastructure services.