What is cloud computing and what are the benefits?

by Melanie Phillibert

Tuesday, October 13, 2015

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The definition of "Cloud Computing" in essence is the delivery (on demand), of IT resources and applications via the internet with pricing based on a pay-as-you-go model.




Cloud-based hosting


Many clients have asked me, What exactly is cloud hosting? The 'cloud' delivers rapid access to flexible and relatively low-cost IT resources for the support of your critical day-to-day operations of your online business. If you choose to use cloud computing, you don't need to make huge upfront investments in hardware or spend loads of time on the tech implications of managing the hardware. Rather, you can streamline exactly the right type and size of computing resources you need to power your latest online project. You can access all the resources as you need, almost instantly, and pay only for what you use.




How does cloud hosting work?


Amazon.com provides the following explanation: "Cloud computing provides a simple way to access servers, storage, databases, and a broad set of application services over the internet." Cloud computing providers generally own and maintain the network -- connected hardware needed for such application services, while you allocate and utilise exactly what you need via a web application.




Some advantages and benefits of cloud computing


There is no neccesity for large investment in data centres and servers and the technological manpower to run them. You pay only when you consume a specific amount of computing resources.




You also benefit from massive economies of scale. With the use of cloud computing you can achieve a lower variable cost than would otherwise be possible. And you only pay as you scale up your business and traffic usage online.




You get to do away with the guess work on how large a capacity in infrastructure you will need. When you make a capacity decision prior to launching an application or developing your online store, you often either end up sitting on expensive idle resources or dealing with limited capacity. With cloud computing, these problems go away. You can access as much or as little as you need, and scale up and down as needed.




You also have an increase in speed and agility -- with cloud computing environment, new IT resources are always a mere click away. This means that you can reduce the time it takes to make the resources available to just a matter of minutes. This also results in a great increase in agility for online organisations, since the cost and time it takes to experiment and develop is far lower.




You can go global. It is easy to deploy applications in multiple regions around the globe with only a few clicks. So you can provide a lower latency and better experience for clients at minimal cost.




Security


There have been questions as to whether old school hosting is more secure; however, cloud hosting enthusiasts argue vehemently to the contrary. The myth has been put to rest and cloud hosting has emerged the winner as the safest environment by far in which to host one's web property.




Alert Logic produced a report as far back as 2012 stating that, "Web application-based attacks hit both service provider environments (53 per cent of organisations) and on-premises environments (44 per cent). However, on-premises environment users or customers actually suffer more incidents than those of service-provider environments. On-premises environment users experience an average of 61.4 attacks, while service-provider environment customers averaged only 27.8. On-premises environment users also suffered significantly more brute force attacks compared to their counterparts."




TechZone360 issued their report earlier this year saying, "The distributed denial of service (DDoS) attack landscape is a shifting sea of motives and techniques which is necessitating new approaches to detection and mitigation." They also said that companies should "introduce a layered security strategy focusing on continuous visibility and security policy enforcement to establish a proactive first line of defense capable of mitigating DDoS attacks, while maintaining full service connectivity, availability and delivery of legitimate traffic."




In this atmosphere, it is wise to choose carefully when taking a decison on where to host your website. This is what prompted some of my colleagues and I, almost two years ago, to start moving all of our client's websites to the cloud. Secure cloud hosting is the key, whereby measures are implemented to block an attack before it occurs. Strict measures are taken and all websites are monitored in real time.




Not all cloud-based hosting companies are created equal. Many offer what seams to be a reasonable offer, and then the additional costs become apparent once you "sign the dotted line".




The wonderful thing is that this can be done at an affordable price. Choose wisely! You can contact me directly for more information.




Your website is your online front door to your business; it is imperative that you take your web security seriously.






Melanie Phillibert is a web developer and Internet marketing consultant. She can be contacted via e-mail at melanie@internetmarketingsynergies.com.





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