Cloud Computing means that any company can have IT resources on demand in a Wat that is simple, secure and flexible, following a pay-as-you-go model, and all of this thanks to Internet connectivity.
This system democratises software in the sense that it makes it more accessible to those who need it, as one software application serves a variety of customers.
This provides companies with a set of computing resources including a maintained, secure, easily accessible and on-demand pool of servers, data storage and application solutions.
Oracle, a leading cloud computing vendor, says the cloud “means greater agility, scalability and flexibility”. Instead of spending money and resources on legacy IT systems, they point out that customers “can focus on more strategic tasks“.
In addition, businesses can quickly access the computing resources they need, without having to make a large upfront investment and paying only for what they use.
Commercial use of Cloud Computing began by hosting applications and services that users could access from anywhere. It then expanded its services, making it easier for companies to unify the operations of different branches and create collaborative work environments where employees could build projects together.
Currently, there are a large number of Cloud Computing providers, with a more or less extensive portfolio. As examples of basic Cloud Computing, those we are most familiar with and can give us an idea of what this instrument is, are Google Drive,Dropbox or Microsoft 365.
Types of Cloud Computing
There are three forms or types of cloud, namely Public Cloud, Private Cloud and Hybrid Cloud and Multicloud.
- Public cloud: the IT infrastructure is located on the provider’s premises and managed by the provider. The customer does not have to maintain its own IT and can quickly add more users or more computing power if needed. The cloud provider’s IT infrastructure is shared by multiple customers.
- Private cloud: This consists of a single organisation with its own cloud of servers and software for use without a public access point. It can be hosted at the organisation’s location or at the cloud provider’s data centre.
- Hybrid cloud: It combines public and private clouds as the customer typically hosts critical applications on its servers for greater security and control, while secondary applications are stored in a cloud provider’s environment.
In addition to these three types, one could add the Multicloud, which consists of using several cloud computing and storage devices, either public or private, in a single architecture.
Cloud Computing Services
One of the great advantages of Cloud Computing is the scalability of the service according to the company’s needs at any given time, hence three main types of cloud services can be distinguished.
- Software as a Service (SaaS): the cloud provider hosts the customer’s applications in its environment. The customer accesses its applications via the Internet. Virtualised servers are used where the customer only has to worry about the software configuration, as the hardware is left to the provider. Examples include Google Drive and Dropbox
- Platform as a Service (PaaS): the client has direct access to hardware and software, remotely accessing the contracted services. The provider is responsible for the maintenance of the system, network, servers and security. This is the case of Google App Engine, which allows developers to create their applications in Java or Python.
- Infrastructure as a Service (IaaS): provides businesses with computing resources – servers, networks, storage and data centre space for a fee – on a pay-as-you-go basis. Examples of this modality are Amazon Web Services (AWS) or Microsoft Azure, platforms that provide a range of services for developers to manage virtual machines in the cloud, which also serve as storage space.
Advantages of Cloud Computing
Cloud computing services greatly help the digital transformation of a company, regardless of size, because large investments in infrastructure can be avoided, as well as specialised technical staff or software licences; companies have access to the latest technology, and they pay only for what they actually use.
It also provides a security barrier and eliminates the problems and cost of maintaining IT security, as well as gaining flexibility, as the resources required are available at all times; accessibility, as the data stored in the cloud can be accessed from anywhere and on any type of device; and the possibility of collaboration, as all employees can share applications and documents at the same time.
There are also some disadvantages, such as the dependence on the provider, or the possibility of Internet problems, as in case the connection fails or is unstable, this technology would not work.
Cloud Computing data
The use of Cloud Computing around the world keeps growing and growing. According to Gartner, end-user spending on public cloud services will reach $482.155 billion in 2022, up from $396.147 billion in 2021.
In addition, predictions are that by 2026, public cloud spending will exceed 45% of all business IT spending, compared to less than 17% in 2021.
Brandon Medford, senior lead analyst at Gartner, notes in this study that organisations “are pushing ahead their timelines on digital business initiatives and moving rapidly to the cloud in an effort to modernise environments, improve system reliability, support hybrid work models and address other new realities imposed by the pandemic”.
The COVID-19 pandemic provided an impetus for companies around the world to move to the cloud. A sign of this, following the Deloitte Insights (2020) study, “The future of cloud-enabled work infrastructure”, was that in January 2020 only 3% of full-time employees were working remotely; by April, the percentage had risen to 64%, and by May, 81% of the world’s workforce had been forced to stay at home. The consequences of this are that the Microsoft Teams collaborative work platform went from having around 20 million active users in December 2019 to around 75 million in May the following year.
Cloud Computing in Spain
In Spain, according to data from the Survey on ICT use and e-commerce in companies, in the first quarter of 2021, 32.4% of companies with 10 or more employees with an internet connection purchased cloud services, a figure that represents a rise of 4.2 points compared to the same period the previous year, i.e. an increase of 32.4%.
Unsurprisingly, it is the largest organisations that make the most intensive use of cloud computing, 64% of those with more than 250 employees, and almost 44%
of those between 50 and 250. Among the smallest companies, only a quarter have contracted this type of services, according to the Survey on ICT usage and e-Commerce (EC) in enterprises 2019-2020.
For its part, the report Cloud Market Spain 2021, from the company Quint, in which more than 100 executives from large Spanish companies took part and which analyses the main aspects related to the cloud, highlights the importance of cloud services in the situation created by the Covid-19 pandemic.
In fact, 56.5% of respondents say that cloud technology has brought them business continuity. In addition, 82.3% of companies consider that the cloud
will be a contributing factor in the recovery of the business.
There are a variety of objectives for which companies decided to make the move to the cloud, according to this report, but the main ones are to obtain greater flexibility and scalability (82.3%), achieve IT transformation (57.6%) and increased efficiency and performance in the organisation (52.9%).
The Cloud Market in Spain 2021 report also reflected customers’ satisfaction with the services offered by their cloud provider. This is evidenced by the fact that 87% of the organisations surveyed consider that most, all or nearly all of the objectives they set for their cloud adoption have been met, and only 13% consider that the objectives they set for themselves have not been met.
While the adoption of cloud technologies is becoming stronger and more widespread, there are still obstacles that mark the reluctance of some companies to invest in cloud computing.
In particular, security and regulatory compliance (33.3%), organisational or cultural barriers (32.1) and the same percentage regarding hidden costs are cited.
In any case, the use of cloud computing services will continue to grow in the coming years, as an effective, efficient, flexible, economical and secure solution for companies, and whose use during the pandemic was key to the survival of many companies.