Related: Data storage through time.
In the simplest term, cloud computing means storing and accessing data and applications over the Internet. Instead of installing the different applications on local servers with local disc and storage, companies can get access to the same applications and cloud services over the Internet. This means that no local server farm is required to be installed in a local enterprise data center. In addition, software upgrades, backup of data and other system maintenance are done centrally by the service provider which saves time and resources for the companies.
Related: Cloud hosting vs. Server hosting.
Cloud solutions come in a broad range of implementations and are built for either consumer or enterprise usage. Consumer applications are usually low-cost mass-market solutions, giving the consumer the possibility to share files and data on a limited low volume basis (Dropbox, iCloud, Google Drive etc.). On the contrary, enterprise cloud solutions are more robust, with focus on reliability, high availability, security, privacy and can be customized for specific environments. Furthermore, solutions are designed for heavy usage such as high volumes and can handle large amounts of data. Often the software and services are installed in the cloud referred to as on-demand software, like Software-as-a-Service (SaaS) and Applications-as-a-Service (AaaS), where the software is licensed on a subscription basis. In most instances, the on-demand service is managed on a vendor’s cloud computing infrastructure and can be accessed anytime globally by users/organizations using a web browser from a personal computer, tablet or even a smartphone. In return, the vendor is responsible for guaranteeing the software’s back-end security, management, availability and application upgrade.
Related: How to choose the right cloud sevice.