1. Why it is called cloud
The origin of the term cloud can be traced back to the habit of representing the internet as a cloud within network diagrams. Of course, there is also a more precise definition: Technically, cloud computing is about virtualisation and the central management of data centre resources such as computing power or storage as software-defined pools. Cloud computing is one of the most important innovative trends in corporate IT – and is a technology that enables companies to be modern and fit for the future. This is the idea behind it: IT resources are provided on demand via the internet or intranet and billed according to actual consumption.
2. What is behind the cloud
Behind the cloud are powerful data centres with very high computing power and a lot of storage space. In addition, various services are stored and applications can be activated. Other components of the cloud are networks, big data, databases, server solutions and managed security.
3. This can be defined in the cloud
The size: storage capacities and computing power can be adjusted at any time and without effort, depending on current needs and the market situation. The advantage: you do not have to invest in fixed local IT infrastructure. The cloud convinces by its high flexibility, changes are possible at any time and spontaneously – and at the push of a button.
The content: The content of the cloud can be defined individually. Do you want to launch a new product? Offer a new internet service? Do you want your employees to be able to access data to enable mobile working? You decide which data is in the cloud.
Control access and expand collaboration: For SMEs, it is particularly essential to network and expand collaboration with business partners and suppliers. You can determine whether there should be content that only suppliers, partners or employees can access,
4. Who is responsible for security
The cloud provider is responsible for managing security.
5. This must be taken into account for the highest possible security
When choosing your service provider, you should ensure that ISO guidelines are adhered to. Standardised norms such as ISO 27001, ISO 27017 and ISO 27018 define the handling and processing of highly sensitive data. Find out whether your cloud hosting provider is certified accordingly. Make sure that the data centre is located in Germany. Due to the federal data protection laws that refine the EU data protection directives, Germany is at the forefront in terms of security. Consequently, the rule is here: look for “Made in Germany”. By the way: Contrary to popular belief, cloud solutions are very secure and excellently protected against hacker attacks. This is also because the cloud provider is responsible for security and its structures, resources and capacities are specifically designed for these requirements.
6. These service models of cloud computing exist
The term cloud computing is not just about one offer but comprises a wide range of services that aim to meet various IT needs of an organisation. Some companies provide customers with a cloud, while others, like Netfira, provide a service model that operates in a cloud. The three main service models are Infrastructure-as-a-Service, Platform-as-a-Service and Software-as-a-Service.
Infrastructure-as-a-Service (IaaS): The service involves the provision of data centre infrastructure by a cloud provider. The resources are accessed via private or public networks. The components of the infrastructure provided include, for example, servers, computing and network capacities, communication devices such as routers or firewalls, storage space and systems for archiving and securing data.
Platform-as-a-Service (PaaS): This is a special manifestation of the cloud computing concept. It can be understood as a link between classic infrastructure services (Infrastructure-as-a-Service, IaaS) and application software from the cloud (Software-as-a-Service, SaaS). Cloud providers provide customers with a platform on which they can develop, operate and manage applications without having to worry about the necessary infrastructure.
Software-as-a-Service (SaaS): Customers can access offerings hosted by a service provider over the Internet. The users access the applications via a browser. Companies that use SaaS applications can change the configuration settings and adapt the software to their specific requirements within certain parameters so that working within their own corporate identity environment is possible. Similar to other cloud services, organisations typically pay a monthly or yearly fee for SaaS applications. SaaS providers usually bill applications based on certain usage parameters, such as the number of people using the applications or the number of transactions. The Netfira solution, which automates and digitises all operational procurement and sales processes, is offered as a SaaS solution, for example.
7. These are the advantages of SaaS
Low costs: You do not have to install and run the cloud applications on your own systems – you don’t need your own server infrastructure. This reduces costs for hardware purchases and maintenance as well as for software licenses and support. The setup costs for Software-as-a-Service are also low, and a faster roll-out compared to on-premise solutions is possible.
High flexibility: With SaaS solutions, you can act much more flexibly: You can subscribe to SaaS offers as required, instead of purchasing licenses and having to install the software on internal computers. Since SaaS applications are provided over the Internet, you can usually access the software from any device or location.
Inexpensive scalability: You can make greater use of individual services or functions if necessary. This is particularly important for companies that are growing rapidly or need larger capacities for seasonal reasons.
Relief of the IT department: As SaaS is web-based, you benefit from the fact that service providers can update the software automatically – often weekly or monthly. So you don’t have to worry about getting new releases or patches. In addition, only one interface to the data center is required.
8. How cloud solutions support digital change
Cloud solutions – and above all SaaS solutions – are an important innovative technology to enable you to get started with Industry 4.0. Modern technologies and also the demands of companies on them are changing rapidly. Investments that are made must therefore pay for themselves quickly. This is precisely why cloud computing is convincing with its combination of high flexibility and low costs. By optimising your company processes, you can concentrate on your core business and achieve sustainable increases in efficiency. Thus, you can use the cloud to initiate digital change in your company.