What is cloud computing? A simplified guide

In today’s digital era, cloud computing has emerged as a pivotal technology, reshaping how we store, access, and manage data across various sectors. But what exactly is cloud computing? We’ve all heard and seen this …

what is cloud computing

In today’s digital era, cloud computing has emerged as a pivotal technology, reshaping how we store, access, and manage data across various sectors.

But what exactly is cloud computing? We’ve all heard and seen this term thrown around everywhere. Let’s break it down into simpler terms to understand this powerful concept.

What is cloud computing?

At its core, cloud computing is the delivery of computing services – including servers, storage, databases, networking, software, analytics, and intelligence over the Internet (“the cloud”) to offer faster innovation, flexible resources, and economies of scale.

You typically pay only for the cloud services you use, helping you manage your costs, run your infrastructure more efficiently, and scale as your business needs change.

How does cloud computing work?

Imagine you have a collection of DVDs. To watch a movie, you need to find the right DVD, ensure you have a DVD player, and then play your movie. Now, imagine instead that all your movies are stored online and can be streamed anytime without needing a physical DVD or DVD player.

This is similar to how cloud computing works. Instead of storing files and applications on a single computer or server in your home or office, they are hosted in the cloud – servers that are maintained and controlled by a cloud service provider. You can access these files and use applications as long as you have an internet connection.

Types of cloud services: IaaS, PaaS, SaaS

Cloud computing is often divided into three main types of services:

  1. Infrastructure as a Service (IaaS): This is the most basic category of cloud computing services. With IaaS, you rent IT infrastructure—servers and virtual machines (VMs), storage, networks, operating systems—from a cloud provider on a pay-as-you-go basis.
  2. Platform as a Service (PaaS): PaaS provides developers with the tools to build and host web applications. It is designed to make it easier for developers to quickly create web or mobile apps without worrying about setting up or managing the underlying infrastructure of servers, storage, networks, and databases needed for development.
  3. Software as a Service (SaaS): SaaS delivers software applications over the Internet on a subscription basis. It allows users to connect to and use cloud-based apps over the Internet. Common examples include email, calendaring, and office tools (such as Microsoft Office 365).

Benefits of cloud computing

  • Cost Efficiency: Cloud computing eliminates the capital expense of buying hardware and software, setting up and running on-site datacenters – the racks of servers, the round-the-clock electricity for power and cooling, and IT experts for managing the infrastructure.
  • Speed and Flexibility: Most cloud services are provided self-service and on-demand, so vast amounts of computing resources can be provisioned in minutes, typically with just a few mouse clicks, giving businesses a lot of flexibility and taking the pressure off capacity planning.
  • Global Scale: The benefits of cloud computing services include the ability to scale elastically. In cloud speak, that means delivering the right amount of IT resources -for example, more or less computing power, storage, and bandwidth – right when they are needed and from the right geographic location.
  • Performance and Security: The major cloud services run on a worldwide network of secure datacenters, which are regularly upgraded to the latest generation of fast and efficient computing hardware. This offers several benefits over a single corporate datacenter, including reduced network latency for applications and greater economies of scale.


Cloud computing is not just a trend but a significant architectural shift in how we can harness computing power. It allows businesses and individuals alike to use computing resources more efficiently, securely, and cost-effectively.

As we continue to generate and rely on vast amounts of data, cloud computing provides the backbone for delivering effective, scalable solutions.

Whether you’re a small business owner, a healthcare provider, or a student, understanding and utilizing cloud computing can lead to significant advancements in your activities and projects.