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Cloud computing is the hot topic among business executives large and small. Nearly everything can be managed in the cloud, from billing to inventory management to CRM. If you have been thinking about how cloud computing might improve your business, here’s what you need to know.

What is the cloud?

The cloud is a collection of data centers that are accessible via the internet or a closed network that gives access to a wide range of services. When you use cloud computing, you access software applications, development platforms, and other digital infrastructure work over the web, without housing servers on-site or storing programs on your work computers.

There are three main types of cloud computing: IaasS, PaaS, and Saas.

  • IaaS stands for Infrastructure-as-a-Service and refers to cloud-based servers, block storage, firewalls, and other hardware resources.
  • PassS is Platform-as-a-Service, which is a virtual space for developers to build applications via the web.
  • SaaS is Software-as-a-Service and refers to cloud-based software applications and the data stored within those apps.

How is cloud computing delivered?

Cloud services can be delivered in a number of ways. Public clouds are available to anyone over the internet who signs up for the service. If you use a web-based email program, for example, you already use a public cloud service. Private clouds are located on proprietary networks that are protected by the user’s security system, such as your company’s existing firewall. Private clouds are managed in-house by the user’s IT department, and access is limited to a specific number of users.

Hybrid cloud systems combine public and private clouds. Many companies rely on hybrid clouds for the more customizable solution.

What are the benefits of cloud computing?

Cloud computing can save you money and time in several ways:

  • it eliminates or reduces the costs of renewing software licenses and maintaining equipment you don’t need and that take up valuable room.
  • It makes your company agile and scalable, since you are just a few clicks away from changing your current resource usage. It can make navigate easier for things like contact management software and accounting software.

It makes scaling your business easier as all you need to do to add a new user is add a “seat license”. No need to buy new computers or install expensive software on a local computer.