Cloud Computing Basics: A Complete Guide

cloud computing basics

It’s easy to get confused when you’re trying to learn cloud computing basics.

Cloud computing is becoming more prevalent in companies of every size. The market for cloud computing is about to explode, with sales expected to grow 19 percent per year between 2015 and 2020.

That’s because cloud computing can make or break a business. Three-quarters of Chief Financial Officers believe that this technology would have a major impact on their organization’s bottom line.

With that kind of impact, it’s easy to see immediate returns of cloud computing. Yet, the only way you can see those types of results for your company is if you understand how it works. Otherwise, you could make a bad investment with no dividends.

Read on to learn the basics of cloud computing and how it can impact your business.

What Is Cloud Computing?

What is the cloud? It’s the Internet. Mystery solved.

Cloud computing isn’t a mysterious place where files go to be purged. It’s how different services are delivered over the Internet.

These services could include a CRM, data storage, sales databases, analytics, or accounting software, just to name a few.

Companies that offer these services can charge or a per user or total usage, depending on the service.

You use cloud services every day.

To give you an idea of how cloud computing works, these are basic examples of how cloud computing is used.

Have you ever used an email service like Gmail or Hotmail? That’s a cloud service.

What about storing data in Google Drive, OneDrive, or Dropbox? Those are cloud services too.

Do you use Adobe services or QuickBooks? They’re also based in the cloud.

Your website functions in the cloud too. So does the analytics data you view to determine how much traffic you’re getting.

Any software or service that needs Internet access can be considered a cloud service. That includes streaming movies or TV shows.

Main Types of Cloud Services

The basics of cloud computing wouldn’t be complete without going over the most common types of cloud computing platforms. You’ll see them referred to as IaaS, SaaS, and PaaS.

Software as a Service (SaaS): Software applications are delivered to your devices (mobile, tablet, desktops, laptops) over the internet.

Infrastructure as a Service (IaaS): Infrastructure refers to your networks, servers, operating systems, and data storage.

Platform as a Service (PaaS): This is usually used by developers to help them build applications over the Internet.

There are different ways cloud services are deployed. You can either use a private cloud service, public, community, or hybrid model. This article has a great explanation of these deployments. Visit the website to learn more.

Advantages of Cloud Computing

Now that you know the basics of cloud computing and how it works, let’s take a look at why you should consider using this technology.


Cloud computing can grow with your business. Most services offer different service tiers that allow you to start small and then upgrade when the need arises.

The great thing about this is that you don’t have to invest in one piece of software and then migrate to something else because you outgrew it.

Save Money

This is the reason why so many CFOs love cloud computing. You don’t have to invest in IT infrastructure, software, maintenance, and upgrades.

Your cloud services provider does that for you. That’s essentially what you’re paying for, and it turns out to be much less than doing it yourself.

Potential Risks of Cloud Computing

Even though there are many key benefits of cloud computing, there are still some risks involved. These are the top ones to be aware of.

Security Risks

No matter how hard companies try to protect data, it’s inevitable that there’s some kind of data breach. In the first few months of 2018, there were 686 breaches that uncovered 1.4 billion records.

What you can do to mitigate those risks is to have data backups on site. You can also have a team that specializes in cybersecurity. This team seems like another investment, but you’ll need it whether your data is local or in the cloud.

Customer Support

Not all cloud services are created equal. Usually, the differentiating factor is customer service.

Some services offer 24/7 service. Others offer online chat only and don’t have a number to call.

Still, there are companies that charge you for the privilege of asking questions about their services.

Before you make any cloud investments, be sure you check to see what kind of customer service availability they offer.

What to Look for in a Cloud Computing Service

If you’re ready to look at cloud computing options for your business, don’t just choose the first option available. Make sure that the service is right for your business.

These are the main considerations before you choose a service.


Cloud computing programs are offered at different price points. You’ll want to set a budget early on in the process. That will prevent you from wasting your time on a demo of a cloud service you can’t afford.

Evaluate Your Business Needs

Your business will have its own needs and challenges. Think about what services you need the most and how many people use them.

For example, a sales organization would need a CRM system that can be accessed in real-time from anywhere on any device.

If you’re looking at an accounting solution, think about how it’s used. Would invoices be generated from the system? Who would need access to your books?

These questions will help you determine the type of solution you need.


Different industries are held to different standards regarding consumer data. You want to be sure that your cloud solution complies with any regulations you have to follow.

American companies that do business in Europe now have to consider the GDPR on top of any financial or HIPPA regulations.

Learn Cloud Computing Basics

There are a lot of benefits to using these services. If you plan to invest in cloud services for your business, you need to understand cloud computing basics.

Also, consider the risks, advantages, and how to choose the best cloud provider to fit your business needs.

For more great content about cloud computing and measuring website data, check out our blog today!