What is the potential of cloud-based solutions? Is it worth using?

cloud-based solutions, saas

The value of the cloud service market has been dynamically growing for several years already. According to the report of ComputerWorld TOP200 2019, the Polish market has crossed the level of PLN 1 billion, which equals $300 million. The global cloud market is already worth over $200 billion. Gartner studies indicate that in 2020 we may expect the revenue of 250 billion, and even more in the years to come! This is related to the ever growing awareness of the advantages of cloud-based solutions among entrepreneurs.

What are cloud-based solutions?

Cloud solutions are services consisting in providing entrepreneurs and other contracts with such resources as:

  • computing power,
  • disk storage,
  • programming environment,
  • ready-made applications.

With regard to the above services, the responsibility for the operation of the entire infrastructure rests with the provider and the client pays only for the consumed resources. As the responsibility for services is transferred to the product-offering entity, the enterprise using given solutions can focus on leveraging them. Cloud-based solutions can be offered in various models:

Infrastructure as a Service (IaaS)

The provider is responsible only for managing the infrastructure of the cloud and its other operating aspects – such as operating systems, applications and disk storage – remain under full control of the client. Therefore, it is the client that is responsible for their proper operation, which often entails the need for having their own IT department.

Platform as a Service (PaaS)

The client only gets access to the programming environment necessary to develop and manage applications. The cost of the service depends on how much computing power is consumed.

Software as a Service (SaaS)

This model enjoys the highest share in the revenues of the cloud market and constitutes over a half of its value. The client is granted access to an application operating in the cloud. As a result, the responsibility for the operation of the service rests fully with the provider and the recipient can focus specifically on using the software.

Apart from different cloud service provision modes, the market offers various models for deploying the cloud in enterprises. You can decide to add cloud-based solutions to your enterprise in one of three ways:

Public cloud

In this model, the infrastructure owner, namely the service provider, gives computing power and disk storage to many clients simultaneously. This may evoke doubts in those who appreciate security above all else, but this solution does not give rise to any threats and has many advantages, such as:

  • low service provision costs,
  • a lot of freedom in managing the quantity of resources without application or system downtimes,
  • ease of access to additional services, software or technical support.

Private cloud

In this mode, the entire infrastructure is used by one entity – your enterprise. The service can be provided by an external enterprise or a separated section of the IT team inside an organisation. Using this type of cloud, you provide your data with the highest level of security, which can be of essence when you retain confidential data. However, it is much more costly than the public solution.

Hybrid cloud

If you would like to have the best of both worlds, this is what you are looking for. Some data can be stored in a private cloud and the rest in a public cloud. This allows you to find proper storage place for documents with sensitive data and for applications demanding a lot of computing power. This way you can keep your work going even at critical times.

Advantages of cloud-based solutions

Are you wondering whether the services offered by cloud-based solution providers will be useful for your enterprise? Read about some of the most important advantages you can get. This will allow you to decide whether this is what you need.

Full scalability

Using standard solutions for data storage or computing power acquisition will often force some trade-offs upon you. On the other hand, the cloud lets you select the proper resources for every situation. Your enterprise has just entered the market or has been dynamically developing for some time? You can adapt cloud services to your needs regardless of your situation.

It also comes in useful if your business requires flexibility in terms of computing power depending on the given period. At times of stagnation, when your own server infrastructure would stand unused, you can simply limit the resources at your service provider’s, which will bring you some savings as well.

Cost cutting

Buying and operating servers calls for considerable financial outlays. It can be painful especially when your enterprise is just starting out. Using cloud services, the responsibility for infrastructure maintenance is transferred to the provider. Your IT department can take on tasks that are much more significant for the well-being of your enterprise. What is more, you only pay for the resources you have consumed.

Available any time, any place

If you are a user of cloud services, you can use them regardless of your location, time and device. This way you streamline such important aspects of your business as:

  • communication,
  • cooperation,
  • workflow in your organisation.

It is also worth mentioning the access to unlimited computing power: as a result, the hardware specifications do not dictate how fast operations are performed. Therefore, work can proceed even faster and more efficiently and the applications you use in your business are always up to date without the need for updating them one by one, on each and every device.

Security of cloud services

All stored and processed data are encrypted. Therefore, you can be sure that your files will not fall into the wrong hands. You have full control over them and you decide who and for how long you share them with. As part of the services based on the cloud technology, the service providers also offer backup, thanks to which unplanned or accidental data removal will not be a problem. In addition, you can erase the memory of your computer remotely if it has been stolen.

Environmental protection

Using external infrastructure, you contribute to limiting the emission of carbon dioxide and consumption of such resources as current or fossil fuels. This is exactly why cloud services are much more environment-friendly than your own server facilities.

Situation of cloud services on the Polish market

According to Statistics Poland, only 11.5% of Polish enterprises take advantage of cloud-based solutions. Based on that piece of data, Eurostat placed Poland twenty-sixth out of twenty-eight members states of the European Union. All countries in the region are ahead of us, led by Estonia with 33.9% of enterprises using cloud services.

However, studies conducted by the editorial team of the Computerworld periodical in collaboration with Oktawave show that more or less 20% of enterprises use the public cloud in the production mode. Furthermore, as many as 1/3 are in the course of deploying cloud-based solutions, use the in their testing environments or are planning to deploy them. The field is dominated by dedicated systems and applications provided as a service. Moreover, clouds are frequently used as a storage for backup copies and for the purposes of long-term document archiving.

Over the last months, there has been a lot of information about banks deploying cloud services. According to a survey conducted by Accenture and the Polish Bank Association, most banks operating in Poland has already drafted plans to use cloud services as well as a strategy of development and construction of applications in the cloud. It is expected that the Polish banking institutions will put them into regular use in 2 to 5 years.

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