Cloud Computing for Dummies

What is cloud computing?

In simple terms, cloud computing is the delivery of IT resources over the internet, provided as a service by another company. Instead of owning and maintaining physical data centres and servers, you can access services, such as computing power, storage and databases on an as-needed basis from a trusted cloud service provider.

Examples of cloud computing

If you use a computer, chances are you are using cloud computing. For example, when you do a Google search, your query goes to a data centre, that could be located anywhere in the world, it finds your answer and sends it to you, all within a matter of seconds.

Every time you send or receive an email or prepare a document on One Drive, you are using the cloud. Your emails and work documents are stored remotely on a Web server, meaning you can access them from any online computer, anywhere in the world, at any time.

How does cloud computing work?

Cloud computing is an application-based software infrastructure that stores data on remote serves, which can be accessed on demand through the internet.

Cloud computing is possible because of a technology called virtualisation. This is the process of transforming physical IT infrastructure, such as network equipment and servers, and turning them into software alternatives.

How is cloud computing different?

It’s on-demand: Cloud computing is often bought on a “pay-as-you go” or subscription basis. You can buy as much or as little of a cloud computing service as you need, meaning you don’t have to buy your own computer system and risk having it lying idle.

It’s managed: One of the benefits of cloud computing is that the service can reduce your IT costs. And, as the management is outsourced it removes the hassle.

It’s public or private: Cloud computing is either public or private. Web-based email and free services like those provided by Google are examples of public clouds. With private cloud computing, you access the resources you use through secure network connections.

Types of cloud computing

There are four main types of cloud computing, each with different services provided for you:

Software-as-a-Service (SaaS)means you use a complete application running on someone else’s system. Web-based email and Google Documents  are well known examples of this. 

Infrastructure-as-a-Service (IaaS) is an instant computing infrastructure, provisioned and managed over the internet. IaaS quickly scales up and down with demand, letting you pay only for what you use. It helps avoid the expense and complexity of buying and managing your own physical servers and other datacentre infrastructure.

Platform-as-a-service (PaaS)  means you develop applications using Web-based tools so they run on systems software and hardware provided by another company. You purchase the resources you need from a cloud service provider on a pay-as-you-go basis and access them over a secure Internet connection.

Function-as-a-Service (FaaS), also known as serverless computing, breaks cloud applications down into even smaller components that only run when they’re needed. FaaS or serverless applications still run on servers, as do all these models of cloud computing. But they’re called “serverless” because they don’t run on dedicated machines, and because the companies building the applications don’t have to manage any servers.

Benefits of cloud computing

The advantages of cloud computing are that you only buy the services you want, when you want them, cutting upfront capital costs and you can add or take away services at a moment’s notice. Here’s a breakdown of the main advantages of cloud computing:

Cost saving

Investing with a cloud computing provider saves money otherwise spent on hardware, facilities, utilities and other expenses such as IT infrastructure required for traditional computing. Choosing a “pay as you go”, subscription-based model is one of the main advantages of cloud computing.


One of the other main benefits of cloud computing services is flexibility to work from anywhere. Saving on the expense of renting office space is good reason to research cloud providers and explore the cost saving benefits of remote working.


By investing in top cloud service providers, you will get mobile access to company data via smartphones and devices, meaning remote staff, freelancers or those travelling can instantly keep up to date with work.

Disaster Recovery

Natural disasters, power outages or cyber-attacks can lead to permanent data loss if you have no backup storageEmploying cloud computing companies means your business can access recovery solutions with no large up-front investment, making it affordable for companies of every size.

Better performance

The biggest cloud computing services run on a worldwide network of secure datacentres, regularly upgraded to the latest generation of fast and efficient computing hardware. This offers several benefits over a single corporate datacentre, including reduced network latency for applications and greater economies of scale.

Better security

You can access data stored in the cloud no matter what happens to your machine. You can delete confidential information remotely or move it to a different account if security is breached, although penetrating the security measures on cloud platforms is difficult.


Cloud computing services work well for businesses with growing or changing demands. If your needs increase, cloud service providers can upgrade your package within minutes, offering the same flexibility to scale down.

Cloud computing providers Ireland

Cloud computing companies in Ireland offer services that are limited to a single organisation (private clouds), or that are available to multiple organisations (public cloud), or a combination of both (hybrid cloud).

Public cloud infrastructure is the most common. With this shared responsibility model, you can rely on top cloud service providers to take care of the cloud itself while you focus on what’s in there – your data and applications. With this extra time and money freed up, you can afford to invest it back into your business.