Cloud computing is a type of internet-based computing that provides shared computer processing resources and data to computers and other devices on demand. It is a model for enabling ubiquitous, on-demand access to a shared pool of configurable computing resources (e.g., networks, servers, storage, applications, and services). Cloud computing rely heavily upon virtualization to provide the underlying resource abstraction layer between the cloud provider and user where hardware & operating systems reside in physical servers while users see & interact with it as if it were running locally on their own device.
With cloud computing, businesses can avoid capital expenses related to hardware & software maintenance & upgrades by instead paying for only the resources they use on an operational basis which can be especially helpful for small businesses who may not have the large up-front investment required to purchase expensive equipment outright. In addition, businesses can take advantage of cloud bursting which is the ability to dynamically scale up or down IT resources according to need by using a public cloud provider such as Amazon Web Services (AWS) or Microsoft Azure. This flexibility gives organizations greater agility & allows them to respond quickly to changing business needs without having to overprovision IT infrastructure.
The benefits of cloud computing are numerous but there are also some potential risks when migrating your business’s critical data & applications off-site. One such risk is vendor lock-in which occurs when a company becomes so dependent on a specific cloud provider’s offerings that it would be very difficult or expensive to switch providers. Another risk is security threats since data stored in the cloud is more vulnerable than traditional data because it exists outside of your control & you may not have visibility into how well the service provider secures your information. Despite these risks, many companies are making the switch to cloud services because of all the potential benefits including lower costs, increased efficiency, greater scalability & flexibility.