The ongoing digital revolution has transcended industries. Businesses across every major sector have become increasingly reliant on digital resources such as customer relationship management software, collaboration technologies, and AI-based analytics tools.
However, traditional, on-site IT solutions cannot provide an adequate infrastructure to support the use of these technologies without becoming extremely cost-prohibitive. As a result, the majority of organizations that rely on advanced technological tools have turned to cloud service providers to meet their growing IT needs.
In this article, the experts at SugarShot examine the role that cloud service providers play in our modern marketplace. Our team also discusses the advantages of using cloud computing services in lieu of in-house alternatives.
What Are Cloud Computing Providers?
Cloud computing providers are a specific class of managed service providers (MSPs) that connect their clients with cloud-based resources.
These entities manage private clouds, establish public clouds, or provide on-demand computing services such as SaaS (Software as a Service) or PaaS (Platform as a Service) solutions — but more on those below.
Also known as Cloud Service Providers or CSPs, cloud computing providers take over data management responsibilities in order to alleviate the strain on an organization’s in-house employees.
CSPs have become particularly prevalent in recent years, as this solution is far more cost-effective for companies when compared to owning and maintaining their own IT infrastructure.
What is a cloud service?
Put simply, the term “cloud service” refers to platforms, software, or IT infrastructure that is hosted by a third-party entity. Organizations access their cloud computing services via the internet.
Cloud services create a data pathway between end-users and the cloud service provider’s systems. The client and its employees can access cloud services from any authorized internet-connected device, including tablets, smartphones, laptops, and desktops.
Virtually any technology, software, or platform that can be accessed via the internet without requiring the user to download additional data files can be classified as cloud services.
Popular Cloud Solutions for Service Providers
While the entire array of cloud computing services relies on remote IT infrastructure, each type of service has unique properties and capabilities. The four pillars of cloud solutions include the following:
IaaS or Infrastructure as a Service is the broadest and most versatile type of cloud service. IaaS provides clients with a comprehensive computing infrastructure that is managed entirely via the internet.
While the CSP manages the physical components of the infrastructure, the client has the freedom to customize the front-facing resources to suit the unique needs of its organization.
IaaS can support any tools that the client may need to conduct normal business operations. A few examples include applications, operating systems, middleware, development tools, and analytics software.
Infrastructure as a Service grants clients access to completely scalable computing resources, which eliminates the need to create an in-house IT infrastructure.
PaaS or Platform as a Service is a more specialized class of cloud service. A PaaS is designed to facilitate the deployment and management of specific software products. PaaS already includes development tools, management systems, and operating systems needed to create apps.
A PaaS is a valuable resource for companies that need to develop custom software or applications. Using a Platform as a Service is far more economical than purchasing the tools needed to create an app. PaaS is particularly advantageous to remote teams, as all members can collaborate more effectively, which speeds up production.
SaaS or Software as a Service is the most well-known type of cloud computing solution. SaaS is fully functional software that is ready for use right out of the box.
By purchasing a SaaS subscription, clients gain access to a specific software solution that addresses a pain point for their organization. Many SaaS apps are run directly from a web browser, which eliminates the need to download or install large data files.
As with other managed services, the CSP maintains and monitors all components of SaaS solutions. This approach takes the burden off of an organization’s staff so that they can focus their energies on more dynamic tasks.
The most niche class of cloud services is known as FaaS or Function as a Service. A FaaS is a relatively new type of cloud service and is not as widely used as some other solutions.
FaaS allows clients to rapidly execute code while eliminating the need to allocate resources in advance. As the name suggests, FaaS is designed to facilitate the execution of a highly specific function on demand.
Who Are the Top 3 Cloud Service Providers?
Several notable cloud service providers have broken into the industry over the last few years. However, the “Big 3” continue to dominate the space in terms of revenue and total number of clients. These cloud service providers are Amazon Web Services (AWS), Microsoft Azure, and the Google Cloud Platform.
AWS is best known for its IaaS solutions, but the CSP branch of Amazon has been focused on enhancing its other products and services as of late.
Microsoft Azure remains hot on the heels of AWS and is a go-to CSP for massive enterprises.
The Google Cloud Platform is firmly positioned in the number 3 spot, as this entity offers a dynamic array of cloud-based solutions that has grown over time.
While there are some clear benefits associated with partnering with these massive cloud service providers, there are also some notable drawbacks.
Perhaps the most significant is that their pricing models can become incredibly complex. This shortcoming is a major concern for small- to medium-sized businesses that are seeking simplified, tailored CSP solutions.
The Value of Outsourced Cloud Computing Services
Making the transition to outsourced cloud computing services is a genuine value-added proposition for businesses of all sizes. Small- to medium-sized companies, massive enterprises, and every type of organization in between can benefit from cloud computing services. The advantages of partnering with a CSP include:
The most apparent advantage of outsourced services is cost savings. Maintaining in-house digital resources such as servers, cooling equipment, and the like is incredibly expensive.
To compound the issue, organizations that rely on on-site solutions must make a massive capital investment anytime they need to expand their technological capabilities.
Conversely, cloud computing services rely on a pool of shared servers that are maintained by the CSP. Naturally, this approach significantly reduces operating expenses and capital investment costs associated with purchasing new technology resources.
Partnering with a cloud computing services provider can also pave the way for additional cost savings opportunities. For instance, many CSPs offer other managed services, such as Voice over Internet Protocol (VoIP) telecom solutions.
The concept of “organizational agility” has gained traction as of late due to events that made long-term planning difficult. During the recent economic upheaval, businesses across many different industries discovered that their organizations did not possess the flexibility or agility to adapt to a rapidly changing market environment.
While cloud computing services alone cannot resolve all of a company’s troubles, they can significantly increase its flexibility.
Cloud-based resources can be scaled up or down as an organization’s needs fluctuate. This ability to seamlessly scale is invaluable during an unexpected organizational shake-up, such as when the majority of the staff needs to transition to a remote work environment.
In order to mitigate the costs of upgrading onsite software and IT infrastructure, many organizations elect to use legacy systems far longer than they should.
While delaying IT upgrades may seem like a shrewd business move, this approach often has unintended consequences. For instance, legacy systems can cause data fragmentation, which will ultimately hinder a team’s overall productivity.
By partnering with a reputable cloud services provider, organizations can ensure that their staff always have the latest tools and solutions needed to carry out their responsibilities. This coverage will help the company remain competitive within its respective industry.
Finally, outsourced cloud services are an excellent way of improving cybersecurity practices within an organization. As the global economy becomes increasingly interconnected, cyberattacks have become more frequent and sophisticated.
These attacks pose a serious risk to businesses and their clients, as even a single breach can cost millions of dollars and expose tens of thousands of customer records.
When using cloud-based infrastructure, the service provider is responsible for maintaining all digital resources. As part of this maintenance, they install patches and updates, monitor the efficacy of firewalls, and proactively address any other emerging cybersecurity threats.
Outsourced cloud solutions are by far one of the most effective ways of increasing organizational data security without increasing strain on in-house resources.
SugarShot: A True Value-Added CSP Partner
Is your organization looking for a client-centric cloud service provider? Would you like to partner with an entity that is breaking away from “business as usual” to provide world-class support services? If so, then it is time to connect with SugarShot.
SugarShot is a leading technology support company that offers a full suite of services, including MSP support, cloud-based IT infrastructure, cybersecurity solutions, and more. At SugarShot, we’re pioneering a modernized way of offering technology support in order to facilitate technology-enabled growth for your organization.