A brief guide to Cloud Computing 2022
Cloud computing is a term that has been trending for quite a few years now, but in 2020/2021, it became a technological bombshell – a must-have for every self-respecting software house – even known to serve as client-bait. However, there are a few ambiguities surrounding this phrase, and it’s easy to get lost in the maze of conflicting available information.
So, in this essential guide, we’ll put an end to any misconceptions you might have and simply explain what cloud computing is all about, where it comes from, and in which direction it’s headed.
What is cloud computing?
Long story short, cloud computing is on-demand access to various IT services and resources over the Internet, typically on a pay-as-you-go basis. It saves you from having to maintain any physical infrastructure in-house (which is necessary with classic client-server architecture) – instead, all you need to do is rent access to applications, databases, computing power, and storage, etc., from a selected cloud provider. Having a cloud strategy translates into accelerating digital transformation and is a necessary step to both achieving and maintaining a competitive advantage.
Benefits of cloud computing
This all sounds impressive, but also pretty general – however, the benefits of cloud computing are actually quite tangible.
- increased security and reliability,
- better flexibility and mobility,
- more opportunities for collaboration,
- better quality control,
- more efficient disaster recovery and loss prevention,
- automatic software updates,
- better sustainability, etc.
Combined, all of this leads to cost savings, increased work productivity and larger economies of scale.
It also reduces the need for individualized hardware, allowing companies to instead focus on business operations.
As computer technology continues to become more accessible and affordable, the cloud is quickly becoming an essential service for both businesses and individuals alike
A brief history of cloud computing: the beginning
Cloud computing sounds like a brand-new concept, but it’s actually older than you might think. In order to explain how it all started, we need to go back in time, as far back as… the 1950s, when the US military created infrastructure that was designed to connect computer terminals within their internal networks. This was the first wind of change! One that cost a ridiculous amount of money… but which turned out to be necessary and is still remembered today.
Other early milestones include:
- 1969 – the beginning of ARPANET (Advanced Research Projects Agency Network) – the first network of four connected computers, utilising the protocol suite TCP/IP.
- 1972 – the development of IBM’s CP-67/CMS – a virtual machine operating system.
Over the next 25 years, “cloud” technologies were mainly developed and utilised by the biggest tech corporations, military agencies, and the most renowned universities, such as MIT. They only became efficient and affordable enough for other organisations within the public marketplace in the late 1990s, and Salesforce is considered to be the first company to have successfully incorporated cloud computing within their strategy in 1999.
Presently, the global cloud market is dominated by four main providers:
- Amazon Web Services (31% cloud market share),
- Microsoft Azure (20% cloud market share),
- Google Cloud (7% cloud market share),
- Alibaba (6% cloud market share).
There are, of course, many other cloud services providers, such as Dropbox, Heroku, or DigitalOcean, and they all represent different models of cloud computing. Three types of cloud computing:
When you keep everything on-site and off the cloud, this means that you also have to manage everything on your own. In cloud models, the service provider takes a lot off your plate:
- Infrastructure as a Service (IaaS) – a good alternative to expensive and labour-consuming on-site infrastructure. Examples: AWS and Microsoft Azure.
- Platform as a Service (PaaS) – a set of time and cost-effective tools (both hardware and software) to build, run and manage applications. Examples: Magento Commerce Cloud and Heroku.
- Software as a Service (SaaS) – a platform designed to make apps available to users, smoothly and reliably, without having to engage your IT department. Examples: Salesforce and Dropbox.
Of course, moving to the cloud is often associated with cloud migration challenges, but in the long run, it’s certainly worth the effort.
All of these types of cloud computing – combined with the Internet of Things – will be shaping the future of technology and… the world in which we live.
The role of cloud computing in the Internet of Things
The Internet of Things (IoT) refers to networks of interrelated physical objects around the world that are equipped with software, sensors and processing power, making it possible to collect, share and exchange data over the Internet – without any human intervention required. For example:
- driverless vehicles,
- smart city/home/factory equipment,
- fitness and health wearables,
- preventive maintenance systems,
- biometric security scanners, etc.
When paired with a catalyst like cloud computing, IoT receives a powerful boost: increased connectivity, accessibility and scalability; better collaboration; and more efficiently utilised resources. This is to the benefit of everyone involved: business owners, governments, developers and users.
With such a large-scale application of cloud computing, there are also many security challenges that one must face. But there isn’t a “one-size-fits-all” kind of solution, and we can observe at least a few different trends in cloud security.
Cloud security trends
- Hybrid and multicloud strategies
This is when companies choose not to be dependent on any specific cloud provider, and also combine public and private cloud capabilities in order to operate with more flexibility and efficiency.
- Zero-Trust Network Access (ZTNA)
This policy means that nothing and no one is trusted to access corporate systems without ZTNA verification.
- Identity and access management (IAM)
IAM is a framework of technologies and policies designed to control user access to IT resources within an enterprise.
- Artificial intelligence (AI) + machine learning (ML)
AI and ML are used in cybersecurity strategies in order to eliminate human error and save time.
Cloud encryption is the process of encoding data before it is sent to the cloud. This means transforming readable text to an unreadable format – one that is useless if you don’t have the encryption keys. Micro-segmentation Micro-segmentation is dividing cloud environments into isolated zones, in order to secure each and every one of them, separately.
This stands for development, security, and operations and suggests that IT security plays an integrated role throughout the entire lifecycle of an app.
- Confidential computing
This is groundbreaking hardware technology that protects data-in-use by encrypting it as it’s being analysed in the computer memory.
So, this is the concept of cloud computing for 2022 in a nutshell. It’s plain to see that digital transformation companies need to come up with a well-balanced cloud strategy in order to achieve long term success. However, this may not be so easy, since there are many variables to take into account.
Outsourcing software development – and all the things that are related to the internal transformation of a company – to an experienced IT partner may be a good option, especially if you want things to be handled wisely, without incurring great losses. This is particularly true today, when there are so many potential threats to cybersecurity. And if you’re one of these companies that are in need of assistance or support – we’ll be happy to help.