Cloud computing services are right at the cutting edge of digital technology, allowing organisations large and small to streamline their operations and improve efficiency. These services, also known as ‘the cloud’, have since their inception been at the forefront of the digital revolution, with each iteration bringing an ever-expanding range of products and services. The cloud may have originally started out as the place to store data outside of your own IT ecosystem (i.e. online), but it has quickly evolved into much more.
These days, cloud services consist of fast, fully secure data transfer that is fully accessible through either an app on a mobile device or software on a laptop or desktop computer.
Vendors in the space are increasingly offering services that complement emerging IoT, advanced machine learning and AI technology to streamline the dissemination of content and send it to where it needs to go in the shortest possible time.
Additionally, the current domination of the market by ICT heavyweights such as Amazon (S3 and Glacier), Google (Cloud Storage and Cloud Storage Nearline), Apple (iCloud) and Microsoft (Azure) guarantee its place at the epicentre of digital evolution for now and the foreseeable future.
Below are 10 articles that clarify what the cloud is, what it can do for your business and emerging trends in the technology.
Definitions and overview
What are the different types of cloud services? How are they maintained and managed? Where do encryption and security come in, and what's the difference between private, hybrid and pubic clouds?
Then there’s the world of 'as a Service' cloud solutions: Software-as-a-Service (SaaS), where a business subscribes to an application it accesses online; Platform-as-a-Service (PaaS), where businesses create their own customised applications; and Infrastructure-as-a-Service (IaaS), where businesses (like Netflix) rent out cloud services and network backbone from a provider.
Services and providers
There are lots and lots (and lots and lots…) of cloud services out there, from big names like Dropbox, Google and Microsoft to a host of smaller and often more specialised services. Whether you want a hard drive in the sky to hold everything, or a series of discrete online repositories for discrete parts of your digital life, there's a service up there for you.
The trick is to find it.
Trends in cloud computing
Cloud technology is 'live', and it's maturing rapidly. That’s why it pays to keep abreast of the latest trends and developments. Cloud architectures, and the technical backbones that support them, have evolved to the point where they can meet the demands of hosting vast amounts of data for global enterprises while simultaneously providing seamless integration with all other major digital technologies.
We're also seeing it integrated with other technologies, like wearables, mobility, security, software and digital natives. And as machine learning and artificial intelligence become increasingly user-friendly, developers will integrate them into existing cloud-hosted applications. Business-solution providers will, in turn, continue to develop and integrate these advanced solutions into their cloud offerings. There's (almost) something new every day – to keep up, you'll need to have your head in the clouds…
Blockchain technology is becoming increasingly more pervasive thanks to its ability to provide end-to-end solutions for business transactions that are fast, secure and leave a clear and unambiguous trail of each step in a process.
Already being dubbed 'Cloud 2.0' by some, blockchain uses P2P networks to manage cloud storage solutions across a range of sectors. This article discusses the plethora of services already available, such as file sharing across decentralised storage sites and the web and mobile applications accompanying them. Much of this still fits into the 'complex' category, but its business solutions are likely to be game changers over the next decade.