Use of cloud computing solutions


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Learning Outcomes

Objectives and goalsClick to read  

At the end of this module you will be able to:

  • Get an approximate idea of what cloud storage is and the opportunities it poses
  • Knowing the cloud types and choosing the right one for your company
  • What are the main cloud-related ICT tools and how to take advantage of them
  • Consider the Cloud as more than “storage-only” technology
Cloud Solutions for SME resilience

What is cloud storageClick to read  

Cloud Computing allows on-demand remote access to IT resources from a network of external sources (servers) via the Internet. Files or apps on the Cloud can be uploaded, downloaded, shared or modified by any authorised user.

Plus, this file storing technology is secure both software (files are scanned for viruses upon download) and hardware-wise (hard drives can be lost or damaged).

This technology can serve many purposes: specific apps, internal network and database management, media access, computing power, storage…

As said before, cloud computing can be divided into apps, platforms and hardware, which in turn produce the following categories: 

• Software as a service (SaaS): This modality offers a single software instance running on the providers’ infrastructure that can be accessed by the user anywhere via browser or a gateway app, with little or no control over configuration parameters.

• Infrastructure as a service (IaaS): Also called hardware as a service (HaaS), supplies raw storage and processing on demand. A good example is Amazon Web Services, which grosses even more than the online shop 

• Platform as a service (PaaS): this service provides space to implement, run and manage several applications, avoiding the upkeep of the infrastructure needed to develop, use and deliver software. According to their availability, they can be:

Community: different organisations pool together their cloud resources to solve a common problem. 

Public: used by many organisations simultaneously.

Private: used by a single organisation without a public gateway.

> Hybrid: made up of a blend of private and public cloud networks coordinated to work as a single entity.

 

Concerning storage, three main categories can be distinguished:

• Object storage: for apps developed on-cloud, which make use of its scalability and metadata capabilities.

• File storage: useful for apps that require accessing shared files and/or a file system. This is the most frequently used by both average users and MSMEs.

• Block storage: needed for business apps, such as databases and business resources planning systems (ERP), which require dedicated servers and low latency for each host.

ICT tools for cloud computing servicesClick to read  

There is a long list of cloud-powered applications that can offer valuable resources to improve MSME business management for both in-office and remote working settings. Among the best ones we can find:

Management and team tools: Time is money, and these apps let you arrange your tasks more effectively, letting you save up some convenient minutes digging for that elusive task confirmation or deadline, time that will become valuable hours in the long run:

• Asana: lets users monitor all project-related tasks, focusing on communication and team organisation.

• Trello: relies on Kanban tables for organisation, allowing for visual, crisp, shareable project monitoring.

• Slack: aims to reduce email flow by boasting a content repository and a wide range of options for team communication, which once customised, can become a great complement for the first two products.

File storage and tracking: these tools not only offer extra upload and download space but unrestricted access anywhere, everywhere, with the plus of being shareable via link or invitation:

• Google Drive: exhibiting full integration with all Google services, this virtual storage unit provides free users with 15 GB and the possibility of editing or downloading them online.

• Dropbox: a virtual hard drive that offers 2 GB for free users that can become 2-5 TB with their paid plans.

• Onedrive: with 5 GB for free users, its full integration with Microsoft Office is one of its main features.

• Mega: a successor to the famous “MegaUpload” that allows free users to store up to 20 GB’s worth of files, with a dashing download speed.

• WeTransfer: developed with file transfer in mind, it allows free, non-registered users to send up to 2 GB per link

Conclusions

Key takeawaysClick to read  

  • Cloud services enable secure, quick file access, management and sharing
  • Cloud technology has several uses beyond storage, such as app development and use
  • Clouds can be public, private, hybrid or community-based
  • There is a wide range of project management and storing apps, with free and paid plans


Description:

Cloud Computing allows on-demand remote access to IT resources from a network of external sources (servers) via the Internet. Files or apps on the Cloud can be uploaded, downloaded, shared or modified by any authorised user.

Plus, this file storing technology is secure both software and hardware-wise, also serving many purposes: specific apps, internal network and database management, media access, computing power, storage…


Keywords

Cloud computing, resilience, storage tools, management and team tools, cloud security


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