Cloud Computing Explained in Easy-to-Understand Terms

Woman at Work

Adobe Stock

Profile Picture
Leah Thomas866
July 19, 2024 at 9:26AM UTC

What is cloud computing?

Essentially, cloud computing is simply being able to transfer or share all of your computer data through the internet with remote storage. That means data transfer and access without having to use CDs, USB drives, or other hardware. It gets its name because the internet is the so-called “cloud.”

For a more official definition, cloud computing “is the delivery of computing services—servers, storage, databases, networking, software, analytics, intelligence and more—over the internet to offer faster innovation, flexible resources, and economies of scale,” according to Microsoft.

How cloud computing is used

Cloud computing can be used to save and transfer personal information and data, or it can be used by companies who want to do the same with company servers, software, databases and more. Cloud computing can also be used to deliver networking, storage, analytics, and confidential information. An example of "the cloud" in your life is if you use services such as iCloud, Dropbox,  or Google Drive.

You are normally only charged for the cloud space you actually use, and you can always request and purchase more. 

Cloud computing popularity has increased over the last 10 years. Businesses can use the cloud for everything from Human Resources, accounting, customer satisfaction and relationships, management and more (and cloud jobs are an area in high demand). 

I know what you’re thinking: is it secure? Cloud computing applications have been screened and tested severely prior to major companies, like Netflix, Pinterest, Salesforce and more. 

And actually using cloud computing software is easy. You simply open your preferred cloud app, log in and you can customize and convert as needed. 

A few other uses of cloud computing are as follows:

  • Store and backup crucial company data
  • Avoid those terrifying crisis moments where you think you’ve lost every project you’ve ever worked on. Transfer your data to the cloud, and you will be able to access it anywhere from any device with the correct login information.
  • Work more efficiently
  • Reduce the time and amount spent on application creation due to the cloud’s easy infrastructure.
  • On-Demand software delivery
  • Transfer any necessary or newly developed software to clients or employees anywhere in the world — in a matter of seconds. 

Types of cloud computing

There are numerous types of clouds which serve different purposes and services. First, there are public, private and hybrid clouds.

Public Cloud:

Public clouds are those owned by companies who are cloud service providers. These companies sell their resources of storage and larger servers, and you can use these services via a general web browser. 

Private Cloud:

Private clouds are used solely by one business or organization — the services on this type of cloud are kept on a private network. Sometimes companies house the private cloud in their datacenter, and other times, these companies pay the third-party cloud service providers to house it for them. 

Hybrid Cloud:

Hybrid clouds are a combination of public and private clouds. Hybrid clouds give a company or organization more flexibility when it comes to their storage and service, and makes it easy to move data, applications and other information back and forth from private and public clouds.

Aside from public, private and hybrid clouds, there are also three different cloud computing services.

Infrastructure as a service:

This is the most standard of cloud computing services. This is a pay-as-you-go service, where you pay to use IT servers, storage and operating systems from a cloud service provider.

Platform as a service:

Some cloud computing services provide on-demand cloud space for working with software applications. Developers access this service when working to develop, test and create all the apps we know and love. 

Software as a Service (SAAS):

Software as a Service also helps with application development. Cloud service providers take care of managing the software and infrastructure for the application, as well as any necessary upgrades or security issues and other maintenance. This service comes generally as on-demand and through a subscription.

Companies that offer cloud computing:

There are various companies who have jumped on the cloud computing train, which means there are plenty of options to choose from. (And you may recognize several of the company names.) 

These providers include Amazon Web Services, Kamatera, Microsoft Azure, Google Cloud Platform, Adobe, IBM Cloud, Rackspace, Salesforce, Oracle Cloud, Verizon and more.

Pros and Cons of Cloud Computing

There are many pros and cons people have assigned to cloud computing.

The pros:

1. Cost efficient

Purchasing cloud computing storage from one of the service providers is significantly lower in cost than spending a company’s own money on expensive (and large) device storage software. Purchase as much storage as you may need and upgrade or downgrade when necessary.

2. Easy use of the cloud’s software

No longer purchase your own expensive software (another cost-efficient bonus!), as cloud service providers allow you to use their own software, already on the cloud and easily accessible to all.

3. Never backup ever again

The cloud backs up your data all by itself. Eliminate the age-old fear of losing all information with a power outage or a computer issue — the cloud will continue to store your company’s most prized data possessions. 

4. Data centralization and sharing

Any employee can access your company software from any device. And the data can be shared with anyone outside of your company as well. 

The cons:

1. An internet connection is required.

A sound (and high-speed for large files) internet connection is required to access stored data. While this may seem easy enough, sometimes it’s not that simple. For instance, let's say you're traveling and you need to access files you stored in the cloud, oftentimes airport or airplane internet bandwidth is not high enough to support cloud access.

2. Lack of technical support

The cloud service providers sometimes do not offer full support to customers, but rather, they refer them to frequently asked questions or an online support service, which can be frustrating.

3. Cloud security

You must make sure you choose your third-party cloud service provider wisely, as you are technically giving them access to your most precious company data. Make sure your provider is reliable and will keep your confidential information secure. 

4. Low bandwidth issues

Cloud computing may not be possible with a low bandwidth net. And even with a relatively high bandwidth net, there may sometimes be poor connection issues.

So, is it worth it?

Now that we’ve laid out both the pros and cons, you may be wondering whether or not cloud computing is for you and your company. For us, we feel the benefits outweigh the risks in this situation. Cloud computing seems to be where the future of storage is heading. It prevents one from losing crucial company data, and it is more cost efficient than purchasing one’s own storage system. 

Don’t miss out on articles like these. Sign up! 

Why women love us:

  • Daily articles on career topics
  • Jobs at companies dedicated to hiring more women
  • Advice and support from an authentic community
  • Events that help you level up in your career
  • Free membership, always