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Importance of Cloud Services for Small & Mid-sized Businesses

Tuesday, August 26, 2014

Cloud computing, since its inception, has brought about a sea change throughout the globe by proving a boon to SMBs (Small & Mid-sized businesses, for which it hits the sweet spot of entrepreneurs. However, the concept is still alien to many business owners because of their lack of attention towards newly-emerging technologies & latest industry know-how.

What is Cloud Computing??

For those of us who’re ignorant about this fantastic technology, let’s understand what exactly is cloud computing.

Cloud computing is a sophisticated technology where one is not required to deploy physical infrastructure like web servers, file & email servers, storage systems or software, on their technology set-up and everything is available on the web anywhere & anytime.

Cloud Computing
 Types of Cloud Technology Platforms

Software as a Service (SAAS)

The software-as-a-service – SAAS is a cloud based delivery model that involves the installation, deployment & maintenance of the software in the cloud and connects clients via Internet or Intranet. Software applications run on the server that resides on the web cloud. A good example of SAAS models are hosted shopping cart solutions that are popular among ecommerce online business owners wherein companies like Shopify, Bigcommerce & Volusion etc host the shopping carts on their servers and provide a complete ecommerce solution to its clients. Online Shop owners need to pay a monthly subscription fee to avail the service or can choose from low-cost annual plans & sell their products on the web. 
Software as a Service (SaaS)
Platform as a service (PAAS)

This model offers its users the application platforms, solution stacks & databases as a service serving as a middleware platform through which a customer can create an application or service using ready-made tools/libraries from the provider while controlling the software deployment & configuration settings. A good example of this is the Open Source Platforms that allow users throughout the globe to develop applications on the platform by providing an already made software under public license.
Platform as a service (PAAS)

Infrastructure as a Service (IAAS)

This cloud-based delivery model takes the whole physical hardware completely virtual including all servers, networks, and storage & system management, everything on the cloud. Put simply, this platform is more or less like a data centres that mitigate the risk & maintain all hardware at the local level. 


Development as a Service(DAAS)

Development as a service is a web based platform that involves community shared development tools which are equivalent to locally installed tools in the traditional cloud delivery model. They are usually least opted by any kind of business. 
Importance of Cloud Services for businesses

With cloud services, entrepreneurs & consultants of small and mid-sized businesses can reap the benefits of high performance solutions within a low-cost investment. This is because cloud services save a lot of expenditure that otherwise goes into infrastructure set-ups & software maintenance. Plus, these solutions are available whenever you need them as everything gets stored online & one can access the software and use it without actually downloading them & installing. Also, storing the information on the cloud makes it accessible from anywhere around the world that means you’ll have hassle-free collaboration using the ubiquitous browser or otherwise, you might have to take your IT infrastructure with you wherever you move, which is extremely cumbersome.

To add further, cloud services enable entrepreneurs to get access sophisticated technology & run their business without the need of employing an IT consultant or tech worker on the payroll, thus your human resource also gets saved.
Today, apart from a locally installed desktop operating system & browser, the needs of a lot of small businesses can be easily fulfilled almost completely with the cloud-based offerings. In fact, different surveys on cloud computing reveal that the adoption of this technology is steadily increasing since the year 2009. But what also came to light was cloud computing also comes with a lot of concerns about security, stability & data ownership. Probably, this is the reason that many businesses are still apprehensive of availing cloud based services ignoring the vast advantages the technology has to offer.

Some widely popular Cloud Computing Applications

There are numerous applications, platforms & technologies concerning cloud technology. However, some of them which are widely popular are discussed below -

1.     Google Apps for Business  

This is a service offered by Google that uses a domain name provided by the customer to provide several customizable versions of Google products by featuring web applications with similar functionality. This includes traditional office suits & other Google services like Gmail, Hangouts, Google Calendar, Google Drive, Docs, Sheets, Slides and Google News, Google Play etc. For the first 3 days, it is free, however if you continue using the service, you need to pay $5 per month for a single user account, or alternatively, $50 per user-account per year. Also, you can use Google APPs Marketplace provided by Google which is an app store that contains various free & paid apps that can be installed by users to customize their business experience.

2.     Amazon Web Services

Amazon Web Services is a collection of remote computing services that combine together to make up a cloud computing platform offered over the internet by the largest online company Amazon.
Through Amazon EC2 (Elastic Compute Cloud), the application platform provides scalable virtual private servers using Xen.

3.     Appscale

Appscale is an open-source cloud computing platform, modelled on APP Engine API that deploys Google App Engine applications automatically & also scales it over popular public & private cloud systems & clusters. Appscale provides developers with a rapid, API-driven development platform that can run applications on any cloud infrastructure.

4.     Salesforce

Salesforce is a global cloud application platform that is most popular for its CRM(Customer Relationship Management) solutions & related products. It is basically a SAAS cloud based delivery model that houses the sales automation software.

5.     HP Converged Cloud

HP Cloud is the set of cloud solutions available from Hewlett- Packard that offers 4 clouds – public cloud, private cloud, hybrid cloud and managed private cloud.



4 comments

  1. Great informative article. Thanks for sharing

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  2. Such a great information about the cloud computing . This is most popular in this time . Thanks For sharing

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  4. I actually enjoyed reading through this posting.Many thanks.

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