What is a cloud service?


Cloud service is a term that includes numerous services that are provided to the customers through the Internet. Cloud services are using cloud computing as the technology to build their infrastructure and architecture in order to provide simple, intuitive setup and use with easy access from any part of the world where the Internet is accessible. Cloud services are designed and maintained by cloud providers and can be used as both desktop and mobile applications, or even in-browser applications. This means that users don’t have to invest in infrastructure and location of the solution to use it, which makes cloud services more accessible and cheaper compared to on-premises solutions.

So, to answer what is a cloud service, it is enough to say that this is the fastest and the most flexible model of software development and sharing.

How are cloud services delivered?

Cloud services can be provided through one of three different cloud service providing models: public cloud, private cloud, or hybrid cloud.

Similar cloud services that are available for wide range of users all over the world under the same terms of use are called public cloud services, and they include most SaaS solutions, including also IaaS and PaaS. Their key advantages include easy scalability, fast access, regular updates and integration capabilities.

Services that are designed exclusively for one enterprise and operate unique infrastructure built on demand of this enterprise are called private cloud and such services are obviously inaccessible for most users. The platform and software serve one company alone, and are not made available to external users. Such services are mostly used by companies that operate under strong law regulations regarding data storage and management, including government institutions, healthcare organizations and financial institutions. Such model is required to implement advanced security measures and ensure data security to eliminate the risk of unauthorized access.

In a hybrid cloud environment, a private cloud solution is combined with public cloud services. Such solution is used for organizations which require their data to be stored in private cloud where it will be secure, but also it requires its employees to access public cloud services and apps in order to improve employee performance and productivity.

What types of cloud services solutions are there?

Generally speaking, there are three basic types of cloud computing services that use cloud infrastructure without physical servers:

Software as a Service (SaaS)

The most popular type of cloud service is SaaS, which refers to providing software tools through the Internet based on a subscription payment model. Numerous well-known apps and services are the representation of SaaS model, including iCloud, Google Drive, Microsoft 365, Google Cloud, Alibaba Cloud, and so on. Such solutions are mostly desktop tools, but also they can operate in-browser. The main advantage of SaaS solutions for the user is cost-effectiveness in terms of set up and operation, as well as easy scalability and wide range of features available. SaaS can also be provide in the form of private cloud services, where application software infrastructure is owned and accessed by the user, while development tools are on the side of the cloud vendor – this is important for business applications of specific companies that require high level of security and are limited by law in terms of data management and file storage. 

Infrastructure as a Service (IaaS)

Infrastructure as a Service, commonly referred to as IaaS, offers cloud service providers the essential infrastructure necessary for managing SaaS tools without the burden of self-maintenance. It acts as a comprehensive datacenter framework, eliminating the need for resource-heavy, on-premises installations.

Leading examples of IaaS include Amazon Web Services (AWS), Microsoft Azure, and Google Compute Engine. These providers handle all storage servers and networking hardware, and often provide additional features such as load balancing and application firewalls. Many renowned SaaS providers operate on IaaS platforms.

Platform as a Service (PaaS)

Platform as a Service, or PaaS, is a cloud service model that furnishes developers with a web-based environment for building cloud applications. PaaS offers a complete setup including a database, operating system, and programming language, enabling organizations to develop cloud-based software without managing the underlying infrastructure.

Several IaaS vendors, including those mentioned above, also offer PaaS capabilities.

Benefits of Cloud Services

Cloud services offer several key advantages:

Enhanced Scalability: By providing all necessary infrastructure and software, cloud service providers enable businesses to easily scale solutions as per evolving user needs. This flexibility allows companies to adjust license numbers or enhance applications seamlessly.

Cost Reduction: Many cloud services operate on subscription models, eliminating the need for upfront software licenses. This grants access to software, storage, and services without investing in infrastructure or handling maintenance.

Increased Flexibility: With cloud services, organizations can procure services on-demand, adjusting subscriptions or terminating services as needed.

Future of Cloud Services

Cloud services are poised for continued expansion and adoption across industries. Whether companies choose to augment existing on-premises deployments or fully transition to the cloud, these services will streamline the delivery of critical applications and data to the workforce. From application delivery to desktop virtualization, cloud services are revolutionizing work practices and business operations.

Benefits of cloud computing make the use of Artificial Intelligence (AI) tools easier, ensure business continuity, provide cost savings on infrastructure resources, not require physical hardware and provide fantastic computing power and variety of services – this makes cloud-based services non compatible with their legacy predecessors.