Cloud computing at a glance

Cloud computing is one of the most impactful technological advancements in corporate IT. Put simply, cloud computing refers to the availability of computing services over the internet. Software solutions that operate in a cloud allow companies to lower operating costs, scale usage as required and reduce the need for IT teams to maintain and service software. Learn here everything you need to know about the cloud. 


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. But, 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. IT resources are provided on-demand via the internet or intranet and billed according to actual use.   

What is behind the cloud

Behind the cloud are powerful data centres with very high computing power and a lot of storage space. These data centres are filled with servers that contain both applications and databases. Rather than storing software and files on local drives, users can access files stored remotely on cloud servers from anywhere in the world. For procurement software, such as the Netfira Platform, companies can increase operational efficiency without maintaining internal servers or investing in expensive hardware to run the system. 

Cloud computing explained

What can be defined in the cloud

The size:

Depending on current needs and the market situation, users can adjust storage capacities and computing power at any time and without effort. The advantage of this is that companies do not have to invest in fixed local IT infrastructure. One of the main benefits of a cloud-based solution is its high flexibility. Changes can be made at any time with the push of a button.

The content:

The content of the cloud can be defined individually. Users decide which data is in the cloud.

Control access and expand collaboration:

Small and medium-sized companies need to collaborate with business partners and suppliers. The cloud allows users to determine which content suppliers, partners and employees can access.

The cloud and security

Cloud providers are responsible for security. The systems’ structures, resources and capacities are specifically designed for these requirements, making cloud-based solutions very safe and reliable. When choosing a service provider, it is essential to 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.

Service models of cloud computing

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 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 worrying 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. Similar to other cloud services, organisations typically pay a monthly or yearly fee for SaaS applications. SaaS providers usually bill applications based on specific usage parameters, such as the number of people using the applications or the number of transactions. The Netfira Platform, which automates and digitises all operational procurement and sales processes, is offered as a cloud-based SaaS solution. 

The cloud guarantees efficiency, flexibility, scalability and the highest data security. It is, therefore, the ideal technology for purchasing to optimise processes efficiently, flexibly and quickly.