More and more companies of all shapes and sizes, across all different sectors, are moving to the cloud. Gartner predicts that global public cloud usage will grow by nearly 20% every year until 2021. The research firm predicts investment in the cloud will increase by 50% by 2022. So, why are businesses going crazy for the cloud? What benefits does the cloud bring to companies?
The SecNumCloud standard, developed by the French National Cybersecurity Agency (ANSSI), defines cloud computing as a method of IT management allowing access to a network of shared and configurable computing resources, which are assigned on request and are sometimes even self-service.
Where cloud-based sharing differs from traditional external shared hosting, according to the standard, lies in the fact that resources are often provided dynamically or automatically, without any human intervention.
Cloud computing also comes in different forms, each boasting its own benefits, depending on the needs of the individual company. So: SaaS, PaaS, or IaaS? The choice is yours.
IaaS: outsource your hardware infrastructure
Infrastructure as a Service (IaaS) refers to subcontracting abstract computer resources, such as CPU power, memory, and storage. The IaaS model allows a company to outsource resources and potentially even virtualize them. You still retain control over the OS, storage, applications used, and certain network components (firewall, for example).
With this solution, the company manages the middleware server and application software. The cloud provider manages the server hardware, the OS, the virtualization layers, storage, and networks.
PaaS: outsource your hardware infrastructure and middleware applications
With a Platform as a Service (PaaS) solution, the company has no control over the underlying infrastructure, as the network, servers, OS, and storage are all managed by the provider. But you can still control the applications used on this platform.
This means the cloud provider manages the platform that hosts the company’s applications, consisting of servers, basic software, and the infrastructure.
SaaS: an all-inclusive service
Software as a Service (SaaS) refers to applications hosted by the provider on a shared platform. The company does not have any control over the underlying technical infrastructure. The service provider seamlessly manages all the aspects that require technical skills. One of the major advantages of this solution is that it requires no upfront investment or infrastructure costs, as these are covered by the service provider.
Different cloud models and their benefits
Depending on its needs or its security requirements, a company can choose between the public cloud, private cloud, or hybrid cloud. Each model has its own features. With the public cloud, servers and applications are shared with other users. This solution is generally more cost-effective.
The private cloud is usually preferred by companies with very stringent security requirements or constraints. This type offers resources and services devoted entirely to the individual user.
Companies do have a third option at their disposal : the hybrid cloud. In this case, the company combines the resources of the public cloud and the private cloud, enjoying greater flexibility and infrastructure adapted to its needs.
Now we have covered the cloud in all its forms, let’s return to the heart of the matter and find out why more and more businesses are being attracted to cloud technology. Is it accessibility, flexibility, potential savings? What are the benefits of the cloud?
Benefits of the cloud
One of the biggest upsides of the cloud is the flexibility it offers. Cloud infrastructure can evolve as the needs of the business change. Capacity can be adjusted to cope with peaks in activities. The cloud allows you to support certain operations as they develop, freeing the company of constraints related to its IT equipment – particularly in terms of processing power, storage space, and number of users.
Agility and accessibility
Other benefits of the cloud are all-important agility and accessibility. Cloud solutions can be accessed at any time, from any device; all you need is an internet connection. The cloud is a bona fide way to increase agility and mobility for employees. Round-the-clock access to services helps to improve collaboration with colleagues and external partners, allowing staff to work remotely or while on the go. The ability to share data in real time delivers proven gains in productivity.
Speed and simplicity
When talking about the benefits of the cloud, we shouldn’t forget how quick and easy it is to integrate into your IT environment. A cloud solution can be up and running in no time. Once installation has been completed, employees generally find it easy to start using cloud applications.
Cloud and security: irreconcilable differences?
Security had long been one of the main reasons why companies are reluctant to adopt the cloud. But now they are largely aware of the benefits that the cloud offers, not least when it comes to protecting their data. Today, suppliers of cloud solutions can provide solid arguments to prove how secure their tools are. The SecNumCloud standard, for example, seeks to set a high standard for security that must be reached by cloud service providers used by companies and government authorities.
The label is granted to cloud computing providers that fulfill a set of requirements, as determined by the French National Cybersecurity Agency (ANSSI). Initially based on the stringent technical specifications of ISO 27001 and complemented by service agreements and commitments to host data in Europe, SecNumCloud imposes increased technical, organizational, contractual, and regulatory compliance requirements.