What is Cloud Infrastructure? | There have been significant shifts to the cloud, as well as what is referred to as disparate workplaces. This has led to the need for varying solutions that work with cloud resources and also have the ability to accommodate different operating systems.
If you’re a smaller business, you may not fully understand what the concept of cloud infrastructure is or how it’s implemented. As it looks like the remote and hybrid work situations aren’t going anywhere anytime soon, having a deeper understanding of cloud infrastructure is important for organizations of all sizes and in all industries.
With those things in mind, the following are key facts about cloud infrastructure and its present business relevance.
Cloud infrastructure refers to combining virtual tools and resources so that your employees can remotely connect to a central network. A cloud infrastructure supports the delivery of cloud-based services or products to end-point customers as well.
Typically, if your business has a cloud infrastructure, then everything can be accessed through the internet, as opposed to through a physical data structure.
As you might imagine, this is tremendously beneficial when employees are working remotely or working on a hybrid schedule.
Usually, cloud infrastructure is based within the cloud services provider, such as Azure or AWS, instead of an individual organization.
In a traditional office environment, you need computers, hardware, servers, storage, and space for the components. There is a physical element to all of this, as well as a high cost. Then, the access to said resources is limited based on location.
You also have to pay to maintain and power these operations continuously.
With a cloud infrastructure, everything moves to the virtual world. It’s cost-effective, flexible, and scalable.
You can create your backend to support whatever it is that you need, and you can tie resources together with one another efficiently.
What Makes Up Cloud Infrastructure?
Four groups of components typically make up cloud infrastructure. These are hardware, storage, network and virtualization.
Hardware is physical equipment that can be kept at any location. This hardware is needed to link all your machines to a single cloud.
Hardware might include memory and storage, your processing units and servers.
Storage allows your data to be continuously backed up to keep your most recent entries, and everything is connected in a way that’s compatible with remote access.
Storage solutions include file storage, which is like file manager storage systems on PCs, object storage, and block storage.
Virtualization is sometimes referred to as the foundation of cloud computing because it’s a connection for all the hardware. The devices can work without physical hardware connections because of virtualization.
Virtualization provides separation from a physical location, so your employees can access needed applications and services remotely.
Then, the fourth component is the network. The network has a physical element, and then there’s added virtual communication.
Basically, what this might refer to is a situation where your employees can log into your intranet server and, from there, access all their needed files from a remote location.
The network links the hardware, device, and data.
What Are the Pros of Cloud Infrastructure?
When employees move toward a model of cloud infrastructure, they are likely going to enjoy lower costs in the short- and longterm. You aren’t relying on the physical download of applications and software.
Everything can be accessed online, and that gives you flexibility.
The coronavirus pandemic has shown just how important that sense of flexibility can be.
Other benefits include:
- You see a reduced need for ongoing maintenance of a physical data center so as a business or organization, you can save money on space and other costs of physical data presence.
- A pay-as-you-go service model is inherent with a cloud infrastructure, so you don’t have to pay for things you aren’t using.
- You have the freedom and flexibility not just to deal with crises situations that might arise but generally to grow and expand as you need to. You can keep an eye on the constant changes in the marketplace, in your industry and among your employees and meet their needs.
- When your cloud infrastructure is well-built and thought out, it can be good in terms of cybersecurity, protecting against internal and external threats.
Are There Downsides?
As with anything, there are potential downsides of a cloud infrastructure that you do need to think about. If you’re aware of these challenges, it puts you in a better position to avoid them. These can include:
- The speed of innovation makes it somewhat hard to keep up. Some cloud providers can become obsolete very fast. You also have to rely heavily on your cloud vendors in terms of not just staying updated but cybersecurity. You can be left open to risk because of third-party vendors you’re working with.
- A strong network connection is necessary for a functioning, efficient cloud architecture. If your employees are working remotely, for example, this can be challenging.
- You give up a lot of control with a cloud infrastructure. This was touched on briefly above, but the cloud service providers you rely on are managing your data instead of your internal team doing so. If there is a data breach, it might have been out of your control, but you still suffer the financial and reputational consequences.
Overall, moving to a cloud infrastructure is probably less of a choice in the modern era and more of a requirement. Even so, you need to be strategic in doing so. You need to research all of the available options and choose the infrastructure that will best support your current and possible future needs.
While you want to take advantage of modern technology, you also want to be mindful of the human element of cybersecurity and cloud infrastructure, ensuring your employees are comfortable and well-trained.
Finally, governance is an integral part of making sure you keep your data secure at all times.