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Ultimate Review of Cloud-Based Services

What is cloud-based technology? Which are the cloud services? How can you benefit from these as a business owner or as an individual? What types of cloud apps are available? What is accounting software? Keep reading to find the answers to these questions!

Nowadays many people, are looking for high-quality cloud services in order to keep their data secured and protected as well as to work more sufficiently. The term “cloud” has come into wider use recently at the same time giving rise to a number of other “innovative” terms that encompass a broad meaning in terms of IT resources provided on the Internet.

In the following article we will touch upon such topics as cloud-based services, cloud apps and accounting software. These cloud-related terms might bring about some confusion and despite being complicated at first sight, they can be very effective and beneficial.

In order to get better understanding of cloud services let’s, narrow down this term and get deeper insights of its “components.” So, what does the term cloud imply first of all? It is directly connected with the Internet, to be more exact, the cloud is essentially the Internet. The term refers to the ability of hosting a software platform or service from a remote location i.e. the accessibility and usage of the above mentioned platform or service from anywhere by means of Internet. All that it takes you is to simply sign in into the account with these “cloud features” where you have stored your data.

Coming to cloud services and cloud-based technology, worth mentioning is the fact that they mean about the same as the term “cloud”. To give a relatively precise definition, here is what cloud-based technology refers to: Cloud-based presents those applications, services or resources that are made accessible to users on demand via the internet from a cloud computing provider’s servers. Don’t get into confusion because of the latter term i.e. cloud computing. It implies the same as cloud-based services and cloud.

If, as a company, you are wondering why you might need a cloud service, here are a few reasons that will prove its high efficiency:

  • Capacity increase
  • Functionality enhancement
  • Availability of additional services on demand
  • No expensive infrastructure costs
  • No need in the increase or additional training of the in-house support staff.

Now let’s dive in deeper into the topic and see what types of cloud services and cloud apps are out there and how you can benefit from them.

Types of Cloud Services

Below is a table presenting you the three main types of cloud services as well as providing the basic information about them:

Software as a Service (SaaS) Platform as a Service (PaaS) Infrastructure as a Service (IaaS)
The essence of this type of cloud service is that it allows companies to rent all the needed software from the service provider instead of buying and installing it on their own. Gmail is a good example of this. As the name itself prompts us, this type of cloud service supplies companies with a platform in the cloud on which you can develop and execute applications. PaaS cloud services provide Salesforce.com, Google App Engine, etc. To cut it short, IaaS cloud service enables compute and storage on demand. This refers to the outsourcing of the equipment that’s used to monitor operations, i.e. storage, hardware, servers and networking components. These are then made available over a network. Examples of IaaS include the following: Amazon Web Services, Microsoft Azure, Rackspace, etc.

 

Worth noting is the fact that all these three cloud service types are sometimes collectively referred to as the SPI model.

Cloud-based services can be used in three senses:

  • Public cloud services: These refer to cloud services which a provider offers to numerous customers through the Internet. The above mentioned three types of cloud services can be considered as public.
  • Private Cloud Services: These are not made accessible for individual or corporate users. They run on a company’s own infrastructure and are referred to internal users.
  • Professional Cloud Services: In the professional sense, cloud services allow customers to deploy their different types. Professional cloud services can be offered by consulting firms, system integrators and other channel partners in the aim of helping their clients understand and apply cloud-based technology.

Cloud-Based Technology Deployment Models

There are three main types of cloud computing delivery or deployment which can be applied either separately or in combination with each other depending on the customer’s needs. Read on to find out these three types and their descriptions:

Private/Internal Cloud In the private model of cloud computing delivery process cloud services are provided for only an organization and are monitored by that organization or a third party, or by both at the same time. Private cloud services can be carried out on premises chosen by the customer and are considered versatile and convenient.
Public Cloud In this model the cloud service is delivered by a third-party provider over the Internet. Public cloud services are sold on demand and customers are required to pay for the CPU cycles, storage or bandwidth i.e. the data transfer rate consumed by them. Amazon Web Services, Google Compute Engine are prominent public cloud providers.
Hybrid Cloud The name itself says that this type of cloud deployment is the combination of the other two models i.e. private and public clouds. For example, organizations can run workloads or sensitive applications on the private cloud whilst using the public one for running those workloads that might arise on demand. Hybrid clouds establish an automated, scalable and unified atmosphere that enables the users to get the best out of the public cloud model at the same time manage the mission-critical data.

Cloud Apps: Buying Guide

Sticking right to the subject, cloud apps are application programs meant for functioning in the cloud and combining some features of a desktop app with those of a Web app.

The famous application security company Veracode has introduced an infographic named “A Buyer’s Guide to Cloud Apps” that presents some statistics on the rise in the popularity of cloud computing as well as enumerates the main types of cloud apps giving other minute details and tips to make your selection in the cloud services market much easier.

According to the infographic, the size of the cloud computing market as of 2013 comprises about $150 billion which keeps increasing at an unbelievably high speed.

A proof of the popularity of cloud apps and services among customers is the fact that over 74% of companies and organizations in the world use some type of cloud service. This ensures us that cloud services do enhance the success of businesses and help them work more sufficiently and get higher revenues. Find the infographic below:

Cloud Apps: Accounting Software

As it becomes clear from the infographic one of the major types of cloud apps is accounting software. So let’s see what it means and how businesses can benefit from it.

Accounting software is a kind of application software that records and processes accounting transactions within such functional modules as:

  • Accounts payable
  • Accounts receivable
  • Payroll
  • Trial balance

When referring to cloud-based accounting software we should mention the accessibility of all your accounting data everywhere online as its main advantage. With cloud-based accounting software you won’t have to carry out any painstaking installation and upgrading processes.

The main advantages of accounting software cloud apps are as follows:

  • No more complicated Excel sheets
  • Everything is automated. An accountant can be a privilege but not a must.
  • Software options are linked to your bank accounts making the entry much easier.
  • Real-time generation of various information i.e. you will be able to check the level of success of your business by simply checking your dashboard.

Here are a few tips to help you choose the right accounting software:

  • Consider what you and your company needs exactly. Maybe all you need is invoice creation and the rest is fulfilled by the accountant, or you need a cloud app that will be in control of your business workflow and operational processes wholly.
  • Know all the downsides of your current accounting system
  • Find out the requirements of your largest customers and key partners.

Other Types of Cloud Apps

Here are short descriptions of other types of cloud apps available on the market:

  • HR Software: With human resource management software your company will be able to improve the management of its, core force i.e. people. HR software will cover such functions as payroll, benefits, time and attendance as well as contribute to the development of the employees’ skills.
  • ERP: Cloud ERP (Enterprise Resource Planning) will help streamline your enterprise business process, increase profits, lower costs and get better and more efficient management over your business.
  • Project Management Software: This app will manage such aspects of your business as estimation and planning, scheduling, cost control, budget management, communication, decision making, documentation and administration.
  • Collaboration Software: A more comfortable way of enhancing team work on a certain project stored off-premises or outside the company. With this cloud-based app you will improve such aspects of team work as communication, sharing and discussion, coordination of efforts and time.
  • Marketing Automation: Improve, automate, measure and streamline your company’s marketing tasks at the same time increasing your operational efficiency and revenues.
  • Web Hosting: Cloud web hosting is a means of flexibility enhancement in the amount of resources that are allocated. This is especially good for people who can’t precisely guess the growth and level of usage of their website.
  • Ecommerce: Within a cloud-based ecommerce service, the vendor hosts and monitors the software, the IT infrastructure and data security thus allowing your IT staff to concentrate on more important tasks.
  • CRM: The CRM (Customer Relationship Management) cloud-based app contains the so called CRM software, CRM tools and the company’s customer data and delivers them to end-users via the Internet.

Summing up, it’s important to note that cloud services have brought speed and flexibility to companies and businesses. They help them reduce operating costs, meet the market demands precisely and gain higher revenues. Cloud-based technology is highly sufficient and beneficial for all kinds of users wanting to protect their data and work efficiently both individually and in a team.

Having the background knowledge provided above you will be able to choose the best and highest quality cloud service that meets your and your business’s needs and demands. Keep up with the cloud technology innovations and innovative cloud apps so as to get the best out of your business!

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