Advanced cloud solutions from market leaders and other small-med cloud service providers have significantly helped disseminate cloud technology. Although we are ringed by cloud and use it broadly, many still don't understand what cloud is and how it actually matters.
For a common user, comprehending cloud technology must be way complicated; though they are using it they don't fully understand it and we can't blame them. But don't confuse business cloud with consumer cloud as both are different features of cloud services. There's a line between these two local computing and cloud computing and when it comes to business, there is an entirely different cloud.
Wikipedia defines cloud computing as "Cloud computing is a model for enabling ubiquitous, convenient, on-demand network access to a shared pool of configurable computing resources (e.g., networks, servers, storage, applications, and services) that can be rapidly provisioned and released with minimal management effort or service provider interaction." Difficult, isn't it? For a common user, such technical definitions will certainly be something complicated to get through.
In simpler words, consumer cloud involves services that would have required on-site storage, computing and hardware, but now, all of these can be offered from remote elastic storage and devices such as notebooks, smartphones and personal computers. So basically, it demonstrates a combined set of service offering that provides a far better user experience.
Let's make it even more easier with some examples. Facebook, Dropbox, Instagram, Twitter, all of these are consumer cloud services. Some other major cloud platforms that you're probably using include Microsoft Office Online, Google Apps such as Google Drive, and Apple iCloud. So you're using cloud to store a limited amount of data, synchronize data, access online data or share files and folders over the internet. Unlike large enterprises, their demands are not high-end.
Cloud storage is undoubtedly the most widely used cloud-based service currently, available for both common user and commercial purpose. Perhaps, it is pretty common for smartphone users to get some cloud storage space for free on the device. In addition, consumers are also trying to take advantage of this trend, as a report from Gartner says that these consumers are likely to locate more than a third of their digital data in the cloud in the coming year. As these are low-cost and certain platforms are also free, consumers are making the most of it for storing their digital content.
These sort of free cloud offerings are a great choice for individuals, but if you think about integrating it with your business, you'll have to consider the way around because it's business data that we are talking about here; data that includes confidential information.
When we talk about cloud solutions for business, the requirements are entirely different. So to begin with, let's discuss about the various cloud platforms available such as
Software-as-a-Service (SaaS) – A platform where the service provider hosts client's applications and allow them to access the data over the Internet
Platform-as-a-Service (PaaS) – Where the third-party provider offer cloud services to clients to deploy and develop applications for business use.
Infrastructure-as-a-Service (IaaS) - A form of cloud solution that provides virtualized computing resources over the Internet.
Cloud service users are also given the advantages of using the expertise and staff or the vendors, and the resources that otherwise may not be available to the company. Moreover, advanced cloud solutions offers sophisticated solutions to businesses that small organizations would not be able to afford.
When it comes to choosing cloud services, from a average consumer's perspective, they don't necessarily focus on acute features, but pick up the one that is more convenient.
However, businesses think somewhat distinctly, to be more precise, they are more cautious as they are not dealing with some random data, but customers' sensitive data. Services like Dropbox and Google Drive are suitable for consumers, but for businesses they have to be more attentive when selecting a cloud service provider. Businesses hold financial records and customers' sensitive data which needs to stored at secure location. They need to ensure that all digital content they hold should be residing at a location that is safe and can't be compromised. These include considering factors such as security, performance, collaboration, price, profitability, service quality, etc.
Cloud is a vast concept and it has been offering its range of benefits to a larger audience in different aspects. So the conclusion is that cloud services for average consumers and commercial consumers are different and so are their requirements. Individuals have a plethora of option to store data in the cloud, backup files and folders and access data from anywhere, anytime. For businesses, there are much better cloud solutions available.