Cloud-based is a term that refers to applications, services or resources made available to users on demand via the Internet from a cloud computing provider’s servers. Companies typically implement cloud-based computing as a way to increase capacity, enhance functionality, or add additional services on demand without having to commit to potentially expensive infrastructure costs or increase/train existing in-house support staff.

The usage of cloud services has become closely associated with common cloud offerings, such as Software as a Service (SaaS). SaaS is a software distribution model in which applications are hosted by a vendor or service provider and made available to customers over a network, typically the internet. Examples include G Suite — formerly Google Apps — Microsoft Office 365, Salesforce and Workday.

Cloud services are sometimes deemed synonymous with web services. The two fields, although related, are not identical. A web service provides a way for applications or computers to communicate with each over the World Wide Web. Web services are generally associated with machine-to-machine communications, whereas cloud services are typically associated with scenarios in which individuals or corporate customers consume the service, like when users access office productivity tools via a SaaS-based application, for example.

Cloud services cover a wide range of resources that a service provider can deliver to customers via the internet, which, in this context, has broadly become known as the cloud. Characteristics of cloud services include self-provisioning and elasticity, where customers can provision services on an on-demand basis as well as shut them down when no longer necessary.

In addition, customers typically subscribe to cloud services under a monthly billing arrangement rather than pay for software licenses and supporting server and network infrastructure upfront. In many transactions, this approach makes a cloud-based technology an operational expense rather than a capital expense. From a management standpoint, cloud-based technology lets organizations access software, storage, computer, and other IT infrastructure elements without the burden of maintaining and upgrading them.

Safety, reliability, scalability, and availability each play a very important role when considering the transition to a cloud-based service. Contact Enterprise Computing Services today for a consultation about your IT solutions needs, and we will inform you of the best options available for your unique scenario.