Don’t know much about the cloud? It’s okay, a lot of people don’t! Cloud computing is an online storage centre that helps you store documents and other private information securely. Having said this, even if you are using cloud storage, how do you know how secure it really is? Well, it’s a good idea to understand how these systems work and how you can better protect your small business needs. To get a bit of an understanding of what cloud services do, we’ve comprised a list of the origins of cloud computing, the main servers and the top five best cloud services available to use.

What is the cloud?

According to techopedia.com, cloud computing models can also store information from remote servers accessed via the internet. Almost like a virtual adjustable vault, cloud storage can be adaptable to the application requirements accordingly. However, if your cloud storage was to be implemented to a public server, then this becomes utility storage. Both private and public servers share the same capabilities such as flexibility, storage mechanisms with restricted or non-restricted accessibility.

How did it start?

It’s not clear when the first cloud computing came about, though there are reports that in the 1960s, Joseph Carl Robnett Licklider and work on ARPANET to connect people and data from anywhere at any time is believed to be the first piece of evidence of online computer cloud service. Fast Forward to 1983, a company named CompuServe offered users the first ‘disk space’ for online computer storage for any files to be uploaded. 11 years later, in 1994 AT&T launched a ‘PersonaLink’ service built purely from online storage. It was then that it became the first of its kind. However, in 2006, Amazon Web Services introduced an online cloud storage system called AWS S3, gaining international recognition for adopting the idea of online cloud services.

What are the main cloud servers?

According to techtarget.com, the main servers are separated into three sections, Public, Private and Dedicated Cloud Servers. These servers are determined by their purpose and how they impact users in an organisation. If you need help understanding what these cloud services do specifically, we’ve drawn up a table for you to help you grasp the idea of cloud servicing.

Cloud Server Role/Purpose
Public Cloud Servers: This cloud server is owned and operated by a third-party service provider. With the public cloud, all software and hardware and other supporting infrastructure is then owned and managed by the cloud provider.
Private Cloud Servers: The difference between public and private cloud servers is the private server is owned and operated outside of the organisation, whereas the public service lies within the organisation.
Dedicated Cloud Servers: Dedicated cloud servers work on both virtual and physical servers (bare metal servers) in which this commonly referred to as a hybrid cloud. When used through an organisation, it deploys a custom visualisation layer which reduces the risks of security threats and enhances the performance for users. This is also integrated with another (multi-tenant) cloud server.

The difference between servers and services is that cloud servers are the virtual and physical layers needed to provide connections through many users. The services, however, are the functions used within the cloud servers that can be monitored and customised by the user or the cloud servers themselves. This all depends on what type of service is suitable for you. In the table above, there was a service mentioned called ‘Infrastructure as a Service (IaaS)’. This is just one of four services used within the main servers provided, according to bigcommerce.com.au. To understand what these services do, again we’ve put it into a handy table to simplify it for you. The table also demonstrates some examples shown are the big businesses and internet software used to thrive on these services to maintain functionality.

Services Function
Infrastructure as a Service (IaaS) This service assists in providing facilities like Operating Systems, Servers, Virtual Machines, Networks and Storage which can be purchased monthly.

Companies who use this: Rackspace, Google Compute Engine (GCE), Digital Ocean.

Platform as a Service (PaaS) A service used whilst developing, testing and maintaining software. Used similarly to IaaS, PaaS provides tools like DBMS (Database Management System) & BI (Business Intelligence) services.

Companies who use this: AWS Elastic Beanstalk, Heroku, Windows Azure.

Software as a Service (SaaS) This service allows users to connect to such applications via the internet on a subscription basis.

Companies who use this: Google Apps, Salesforce, Dropbox, MailChimp.

On-Premise Service Software installed in the same building as your business, where all components must be managed by the user.

Now that you’ve grasped the understanding of both servers and services, below is the top five cloud storage services used by business globally.

Five Cloud Storage Services

      1. IBM Cloud

IBM Cloud uses all three IaaS, PaaS and SaaS to generate access for all cloud delivery models. The cloud allows users to use a high performing system to create unique services and applications. Ultimately, this gives users full access to tools, data and delivery modes as well as the cloud communication platform. Payment options include: PAYG, Reverse Commitments and Subscriptions are available.

      2. Google Cloud Platform

Google Cloud Platform allows hard drive accessibility such as hard disks, virtual machine and computers. The platform is an integrated storage system used by a developer and enterprises to access real-time data. Google also offers a free 30-day trial which includes $300 worth of free credit. After the trial, Google Sales can help accommodate you with the best suitable payment plan for you.

      3. Adobe

Adobe mostly uses SaaS to accommodate users to access tools like Creative, Experience and Document Clouds. It’s there they offer tools to edit films, photography and graphic designing and also a range of budget solutions for advertising. Adobe’s cloud service platforms range from Adobe Sensei, I/O and Exchange or you can request a free demo.

      4. Dropbox

Dropbox has storage for small businesses, not enterprises. This service allows any user to use any device connected to the internet to access their online account. The account stores any documents, videos, and photos both online or personal hard drives. Dropbox is available as a desktop and smartphone app and offers a 30-day trial. Though if you’re considering purchasing the full product, they range from standard, advanced to enterprise plans.

      5. Apple iCloud

Apple iCloud Service allows users to create folders for all files uploaded. iCloud also gives users access to productivity tools such as Pages, Numbers, and Keynote. It also assists in maintaining inbox, calendar, contacts, and other important information and is accessible using an iPhone, tablet or the desktop app. If you need to expand on your online storage, the selected plans are affordable, for example; 2TB starts at $14.99/month.

CONCLUSION

When using cloud computing servers, always research what type of server(s) is best suited for you and your small business. Remember, your privacy and your business is your number one priority. If you ever need to get your head out of the clouds, contact the experts at TCM, where they’re sure to help you improve your business through their quality IT services.

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