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A Guide to Cloud Computing

Written by Millgate 17/05/2022

Cloud computing has grown massively in the last decade, with roughly 60% of all corporate data worldwide now being stored in the Cloud. From sharing Google Docs with colleagues to watching Netflix in an evening, most of us harness the Cloud every day, even if we don’t realise it.

This trend isn’t going away either. Forecasts show the Cloud industry is going to double from 2021 to 2026, and adoption of Cloud technology has only been accelerated by the pandemic.

What is the Cloud?

Cloud computing is the delivery of IT services using a network of connected computers that can process information, perform operations, and store data.

Benefits of Cloud computing

Reduce Costs

The Cloud reduces expenditure by eliminating the initial cost required to build data centres. In addition, maintenance costs from constantly powering and staffing data centres are reduced. By allowing a massive company like Amazon to handle the infrastructure costs, users benefit from economies of scale. This is because Amazon has been building servers in bulk for over 15 years, making it far cheaper for users to rent computing power from Amazon, instead of building their own data centres.

Boost Speed

The on-demand nature of the Cloud alleviates the need to allocate redundant servers, allowing for computing power to be accessed with the click of a button when needed.

Improve Scalability

By only using and paying for computing power when needed, the Cloud elastically offers the right amount of processing. This means the Cloud can function for any business, no matter the size.

Save Time

The Cloud eliminates the need for data centres to be set up, freeing up the time of internal IT staff and decision makers.

Enhance Reliability

Continuity is ensured by storing data in externally accessible data centres. This makes data backup and disaster recovery much easier so your business can stay online all the time.

Maintain Security

Cloud providers offer security features to keep their networks safe, protecting data and applications. As the biggest cloud providers are internet giants like Amazon, relying on their cloud infrastructure security is easier and safer for most businesses than trying to navigate the world of security on their own.

Collaborate around the world

Cloud services like Google Docs allow team members to collaboratively share and edit documents. Files can be accessed in a shared location, so multiple colleagues can make edits from anywhere.

So how does the Cloud work?

pyramid showing cloud architecture model and services
Cloud architecture model


Types of Cloud deployment

In order to benefit from the Cloud, organisations must decide which deployment model best suits their needs. There are 4 major Cloud deployment models, these are based on the management and ownership of the hardware which drives the Cloud.

  • Public: Third-party Cloud service providers (who own and operate their own clouds) offer their computing power over the internet. The software, hardware and technical support are managed by the Cloud provider, making the Public Cloud easy to deploy and cost effective.
  • Private: A private Cloud is a Cloud network used by one company. This can either be hosted by a third party or in an on-house data centre, which is useful for housing sensitive and valuable data.
  • Hybrid: A hybrid Cloud combines different Cloud networks. This allows for data to be moved between both public and private Cloud architectures, offering greater flexibility.
  • Multi: At least two Clouds (often Public Clouds) are used together, this allows administrators to pick different Cloud providers for certain services.

Now we’ve outlined the infrastructure behind the Cloud, let’s discuss the services which are provided.

Different cloud service models, SaaS, IaaS and Paas, with examples of each
Examples of Cloud Services

Cloud services

Organisations may use more than one of the following services; large businesses most likely utilise all three.

IaaS, or Infrastructure-as-a-service, provides hard drives, servers storage, virtualisation and networking, which are all managed by the Cloud provider. The customer manages everything besides the hardware, including operating systems and middleware.


  • Control: IaaS offers more control to clients, making it the most flexible Cloud computing service, as users can configure and manage physical resources to allow for greater optimisation.
  • Decreased latency: Users can access servers that are located closer to them, reducing data transfer and decreasing latency.
  • Highly scalable: Can handle increases in traffic by utilising extra servers, without investing in excess data centres.
  • Improved availability: Redundant servers in different areas allow businesses to cope with technical issues, as services are available to end users through different data centres.


  • Integration: Legacy apps may need updating before migrating them onto the Cloud, as without this adjustment, additional security and performance issues may present themselves.
  • Difficulty: Extra time and resources are required to ensure staff are effectively trained on how to manage IaaS in order to maintain security.
  • Reliance: IT administrators must rely on the Cloud provider to ensure their servers are secure and properly isolated from threats.

PaaS, or Platform-as-a-service, provides an environment for software developers to create, deliver, test, and manage applications in the Cloud, without setting up the hardware.


  • Development: A cost effective and fast method for building applications on the Cloud.
  • Collaboration: Allows developers to work together and focus on building instead of managing infrastructure, including patches and updates.
  • Testing: Organisations can test different coding languages and operating systems quickly, without investing in hardware, which may become unnecessary later on.


  • Data security: Storing data in external servers creates a reliance on the hardware provider.
  • Legacy Apps: Customisation may be required to integrate certain legacy apps with PaaS. This takes extra time and could affect your application’s functionality.
  • Run time issues: PaaS may not implement effectively with the framework or programming language which you wish to use, leading to poor performance.

SaaS, or Software-as-a-service, allows for the delivery of software applications over the internet (such as Microsoft 365). SaaS providers manage the hardware, maintenance, updates, data storage and networking associated with the Cloud. This is the most common type of service and is often delivered on internet browsers, so no installation is required.


  • Ease of use: By being so easily accessible, SaaS is ideal for smaller businesses and individuals that require immediate support, as all infrastructure and software maintenance is left to the vendor.
  • Saves time: IT support staff don’t need to continually update software and infrastructure, and so can spend more time working on other issues.
  • Work anywhere: Teams can easily collaborate with tools such as Google Drive.


  • Integration: Not all SaaS solutions can integrate with certain applications, meaning organisations sometimes must build their own integration software.
  • Lack of customisability: Performance, integrations, security, and functionality are controlled by the vendor; you get what you’re given.
  • Data security: Transferring and storing sensitive data in the public Cloud might make your information vulnerable.
  • Vendor lock-in: The classic easy to sign up hard to leave scenario. Sometimes vendors make it hard to transfer data and applications to other service providers, potentially creating additional costs when switching platforms.

Which Cloud Provider is right for you?

The two largest cloud providers by market share are Amazon Web Services and Microsoft Azure. Both providers offer IaaS, PaaS, and SaaS.

AWS (Amazon Web Services) is the largest and most established Cloud provider with a 31% share of the market. Amazons 7-year head start over its competitors has also allowed AWS to provide more features than the other Cloud providers. AWS also has fewer outages; however, the variety of options can make pricing confusing.

Azure, Microsoft’s Cloud solution, offers powerful processing speed and easy integration with Microsoft software, making it a good choice for business infrastructure solutions. Azure also offers the best option for hybrid Cloud, allowing for greater customisation. However, the support and documentation for Azure is sometimes lacking, meaning considerable expertise can be required to manage and implement it effectively.

There’s an awful lot to think about with Cloud computing, especially when you look at the effects on your business. That’s why we always recommend speaking with a specialist to determine which solutions are best to utilise as part of your infrastructure.

IaaS vs PaaS vs SaaS

The Cloud service you choose depends on your businesses size and goals. If you want maximum customisation, then an IaaS solution run on a hybrid cloud would provide the most options. Another use case for IaaS includes organisations lacking the capital to build their own IT infrastructure with the necessary redundancy to deal with usage spikes. However, in-house expertise is required to properly configure IaaS.

If you’re a small business or individual user and a SaaS solution offers the required functionality, then it would be the easiest option, offering the lowest costs and speediest set-up. This would be a cost-effective solution for an SMB trying to develop an ERP (Enterprise Resource Planning) system.

Finally, if you want to write code and build applications with a team of software developers, then a PaaS solution would work best. PaaS is also a good fit for those looking to build applications and store data for IoT devices.

Regardless of which solution works best for you, the Cloud will increasingly hover over us in our everyday lives, including in our businesses, growing with the continued trend in remote working and ever improving technology.

Learn More

If you still have questions, you can speak with our Solutions team at no cost or obligation to find the best way to leverage the Cloud in your business.


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