20+ Frequently Asked Questions About Cloud Computing [Updated: December 2023]

Top Frequently Asked Questions About Cloud Computing

Cloud computing is a topic that continues to stay top of mind for SMBs and organizations all over the world, which means you probably already know something about the cloud. Now, unfortunately, there are also a lot of misconceptions about it. And that’s happening despite having a lot of material about cloud computing out there. But most of it’s so complex that only people in IT can understand it.

If that’s you case, and you are still struggling to understand the basics of cloud computing, and what are the different types of clouds, so that you can decide how your company can get started with them, then this is the right article for you.

With that being said, these are some of the most frequent questions our customers have about cloud computing

What is cloud computing?

Cloud computing is when a range of computing services are delivered over the internet, and these are offered by third-party providers. Now, when we say computing services, we mean servers, storage, databases, software, and analytics. By having access to all these, you actually eliminate the need for businesses to acquire, configure, or manage these resources themselves. 

So, when you choose cloud computing, in fact, you use a network over the internet to connect your business (and your employees) to a cloud platform. In turn, your business and team can use that platform to access computing services. 

What are the benefits of cloud computing?

It’s easy to access 

Cloud computing’s main benefit is that your business and employees can access cloud services from anywhere, at any time, as long as they have an internet connection. This makes it easier for your teams to collaborate on projects and share information even on the go, as they can access the same data and applications from anywhere. Also, it can help your business and employees be more flexible and agile.

It’s scalable

Another huge benefit is that cloud computing services can be easily scaled up or down to meet your business’s changing needs. This will allow you to quickly adjust your business computing resources to match your needs.

It’s cost-effective

Your business only pays for the computing resources you use, no matter the cloud computing service model. This means you can pay for the computing resources you need on a subscription basis, with no need to purchase and maintain expensive hardware and infrastructure. 

It’s flexible 

When switching to a cloud computing infrastructure, there is no one-size-fits-all. What works for one company may not benefit another. In fact, flexibility and versatility are among the most important reasons to choose the cloud, as it can help you quickly adapt to changing business needs or markets.

It’s secure

The security risks of cloud computing are considered relatively low. Of course, if you choose the right cloud provider. But as most cloud computing providers offer robust security measures to protect their customers’ data and applications, that should not be a problem. This important feature can be especially beneficial for SMBs small as these don’t usually have the resources to implement their own security measures. Plus, cloud services teams, as it’s our own, are also known as top security experts in the field.

It’s reliable

Most cloud computing providers offer high levels of reliability and uptime, ensuring redundant systems and infrastructure are set in place. Cloud providers also offer only the latest innovations to their customers, which means you will never have to invest in soon-to-be-obsolete technologies.

More on the benefits of cloud computing

What are the types of cloud computing?

In fact, there are four different cloud computing deployment models – public cloud, private cloud, hybrid cloud, and multi-cloud. 

Read on to find out more about each of these cloud types. 

What is a public cloud?

A public cloud is a cloud computing deployment model where the computing services are offered over the internet to the general public by a third-party cloud services provider, such as Amazon Web Services (AWS), Microsoft Azure or Google Cloud Platform (GCP). As this type of cloud offers computing, storage, and network resources over the internet, it enables your business to access shared on-demand resources based on your needs and goals.

What is a private cloud?

A private cloud is a cloud computing deployment model where the computing services are used exclusively by a single business or user. In other words, private clouds are built, managed, and owned only by your business company, which can also be privately hosted in your own data centers or in a colocation facility. This type of cloud provides greater control, security, and management of data while still enabling your employees to access this data from anywhere.

What is a hybrid cloud?

Now, as the name also implies, a hybrid cloud is a type of cloud computing deployment that combines the features of both public and private clouds, allowing businesses to benefit from on-premises and cloud-based resources.

This means, among others, that in a hybrid cloud, you can move your applications and data between public and private clouds, depending on your business needs. And you can also maintain the security and compliance features commonly found in a private cloud environment.  For example, if you own an online store, you might use the public cloud to host your store, while keeping your customers’ sensitive data on a private cloud.

What is a multi-cloud?

A multi-cloud is actually a cloud computing strategy more than a deployment model. It involves using multiple cloud service providers, improving resilience, and optimizing cost and performance.

In the case of a multi-cloud solution, your possibilities are in fact limitless. You can combine both public and private cloud or you can actually choose to work with multiple public cloud providers. One example would be to use one cloud provider for data backup and disaster recovery, and another cloud provider for running mission-critical applications.

Frequent Asked Questions About Cloud Computing

What are the most popular public cloud service providers?

The popular cloud service providers are Amazon Web Services (AWS), Microsoft Azure, Google Cloud Platform (GCP), IBM Cloud, and Oracle Cloud.

What is the difference between IaaS, PaaS, and SaaS?

IaaS, PaaS, and SaaS are three different cloud computing service models, each having its own set of characteristics and use cases. You choose one based on the level of control, flexibility, and management your business needs.

Infrastructure as a service (IaaS) provides access to virtualized computing resources, including servers, storage, and networking, over the Internet. With IaaS, you can rent computing resources from a cloud provider on a pay-per-use basis. You are also responsible for managing and maintaining the operating system, middleware, and applications that run on the infrastructure. As IaaS provides the highest level of control over your IT resources, this is also typically used by businesses that require more control over their computing resources, such as software developers and IT teams.

Platform as a Service (PaaS) provides a platform for the development, testing, and deployment of software applications over the Internet. This means that PaaS is typically used by software developers and IT teams that need a platform for building and deploying applications quickly and efficiently. With PaaS, you can rent a platform that includes operating systems, middleware, and development tools. And you and your team are responsible for managing and maintaining the applications that run on that platform. 

Software as a Service (SaaS) provides access to software applications over the internet, most often on a subscription basis. With SaaS, you can rent software applications from a cloud provider, and in turn, that provider will be responsible for managing and maintaining the software and infrastructure behind the application. For all these reasons, SaaS is typically used by businesses that need to access software applications without having to manage that infrastructure, such as email, customer relationship management (CRM), and accounting software.

To sum up, IaaS provides virtualized computing resources, PaaS provides a platform for developing and deploying software applications, and SaaS provides access to software applications over the internet. 

In the end, the choice will depend on the specific needs of your business and the level of control and management you want to have over your resources.

Cloud 101: Understanding Could Service Models – IaaS, PaaS, And SaaS

What are some common cloud computing use cases?

There are many different use cases for cloud computing across different industries, but the following are some of the most common use cases.

Data backup and disaster recovery

There are many companies that choose to use cloud computing as a solution for backing up their critical data and applications to the cloud. This type of infrastructure provides a secure and reliable way to recover from natural disasters, cyber-attacks, or hardware failures, among others.

Application development and testing

Cloud computing is a great choice for developers and IT teams as it can provide access to virtualized computing resources, allowing them to develop, test, and deploy applications more quickly and efficiently.

Web hosting and content delivery

You can also use cloud computing to host your websites, online stores, blogs and other online content, as it can provide fast and reliable access to all your users, all around the world.

Big data analytics

Giving access to almost unlimited resources, cloud computing can be used to store and process large amounts of data, providing your businesses with powerful tools to help you analyze and make decisions based on your data.

Software as a Service (SaaS)

Cloud computing can also be used to deliver software applications over the internet, which means your business can have access to powerful software tools without the need for on-premises hardware or software.

Internet of Things (IoT)

You can also use cloud computing to collect, store, and process data from all your IoT devices, providing your business with important insights into your operations and customers.

Artificial Intelligence and machine learning

If you want to adopt and scale AI, then cloud computing gives you access to powerful computing resources and machine learning tools. These will allow your business to develop and integrate AI models more quickly and efficiently.

Do I need cloud computing?

As we said above, there are lots of benefits to choosing the cloud, but whether or not your business needs cloud computing depends on your specific needs and circumstances. 

That being said, the world we live in makes cloud computing a great option if you want your business to advance faster and also speed up your services or product development.

Cloud computing can give your business best-in-class resources and the latest technologies without needing to actually purchase any of this infrastructure.

Is moving to the cloud right for my business

Here are a few scenarios that should make you choose cloud computing over traditional data centers:

  • When your business outgrows your infrastructure capabilities
  • If your business doesn’t use existing infrastructure resources on a daily basis
  • If your volumes of data and resources are too much for your on-premises data storage
  • When you experience slow response times on your existing infrastructure
  • If your infrastructure delays your product development process
  • If you have difficulties with your cash flow due to your existing infrastructure expenses

How do I prepare my business for the cloud?

Migrating your business to the cloud can be a complex process, but if you’re following these next few steps (together with your cloud provider), you can successfully prepare your business for the cloud. 

Analyze and choose the right cloud service provider

First, you need to determine what are your business-specific needs and the reasons behind your cloud decision. This initial assessment can include your background and technology needs, current IT infrastructure, or what business processes and applications can benefit from cloud computing. Make sure you take into account cost, scalability, security, and other factors that are important to your business.

Of course, before even starting to analyze your needs, you can research and evaluate different cloud service providers (like Haar) and find the one that best meets your business needs. Our team of cloud specialists, for example, will help you migrate your business and be right there by your side every step of the way.  

Develop a plan

Together with the cloud specialists you chose, you can now start to put together a plan for migrating your data and applications to the cloud. Identify which data and applications are a priority for migration, how long the migration will take, and how to minimize disruption to your business operations. 

For example, now is when you need to decide on specific cloud requirements, for example, public cloud or private, fully cloud or hybrid, Amazon Web Services (AWS) or Microsoft Azure? 

You also need to develop a plan to ensure security and compliance concerns, such as data privacy, data security, and regulatory compliance. Ensure that the cloud provider you choose meets your security and compliance requirements. 

Test and implement

Once you agree on all the above, the IT team has to test the new cloud-based tools and applications to ensure they meet your business needs. The testing stage will help you avoid unexpected problems and also make sure all systems and tools are in place before moving your data to the cloud. 

Then, according to what the test revealed, you should optimize these tools and apps to improve performance, and ensure it will all go with minimal disruption to normal operation, and over the shortest period of time.

Once you go through the testing stage, the cloud specialists will start implementing your dedicated cloud environment with the technologies you chose, while ensuring everything will be ready within the agreed timeline. 

Monitor and train

Once you have migrated all your data and systems to the cloud, you or the cloud specialists need to monitor the data and applications and ensure all are performing as expected. 

The final step is to train your staff on the new cloud environment and how to use the new cloud-based tools and applications. This will help them understand how the new technology will impact their work and how to effectively use the new tools.

More on how to migrate to the cloud

What training does my IT staff need to manage the cloud?

Well, that depends on what type of cloud model you choose and what experience your IT staff has with it. But we recommend training your staff every time you change the cloud-based tools, environment or processes as new technologies and apps appear every year. 

Now, if we’re talking about migrating to the cloud for the first time, then you should know that managing the cloud requires a different set of skills and knowledge compared to traditional on-premises IT management. Your IT staff will need to acquire new skills and knowledge to effectively manage your cloud environment.

Depending on their level of expertise, your IT staff may need training into the following areas to manage the cloud:

  • Cloud Architecture
  • Cloud Security
  • Cloud Automation
  • Cloud Monitoring and Management
  • Cloud Cost Optimization
  • Cloud Migration
  • Cloud Governance

What is cloud migration?

You migrate to the cloud (or cloud migration) when you start moving data, applications, and other IT resources from your business’s on-premises infrastructure to a cloud-based environment. 

This can involve everything from transferring your data and applications to all your IT resources and systems to a public, private, or hybrid cloud environment.

As said before, a successful cloud migration requires careful planning, assessment of your existing infrastructure and applications, selection of the right cloud provider and cloud specialists, and ongoing management and optimization of your new cloud resources.

What is auto-scaling?

Auto-scaling is a cloud computing feature that automatically adjusts the number of computing resources allocated to cloud-based applications based on their usage. in other words, it makes sure that those cloud applications always have enough resources to handle incoming traffic. 

This ensures that applications perform well as demand (and traffic) changes. If demand increases, and traffic grows, more computing resources are added automatically so that its performance doesn’t go down. When demand decreases, unused resources are removed to optimize cost.

Therefore, auto-scaling is a very useful feature of cloud computing as it helps optimize both cost efficiency and performance in a dynamic cloud environment.

What is a cloud strategy and how it can help my business?

Every cloud migration should start with a good cloud strategy as this involves putting together a plan that outlines your technical and business objectives for adopting and using the cloud.

Now, no matter the size of your business, a cloud strategy has to assess your business and IT needs, evaluate and identify cloud providers, determine a roadmap and timeline, set governance and security policies, and monitor and optimize your cloud usage.

In simpler terms, the key is to think about how cloud computing can help with your business goals, both in the near and long term and develop a strategy that helps you achieve those goals most efficiently.

All this can help your business:

Reduce costs: With cloud computing, you eliminate the need to purchase and maintain your own physical servers and data centers. You only pay for the computing resources you actually use.

Increase scalability: You can scale up and down cloud services to meet the changing needs of your infrastructure. This provides more flexibility to handle spikes in traffic or workload.

Improve efficiency: Cloud automation and self-service reduce the time to deploy new resources. This enables you to respond faster to business needs.

Boost collaboration: Cloud applications enable your team to access information from anywhere and share documents more easily across locations.

Reduce risk: Cloud providers have built-in redundancy, disaster recovery and security measures that can reduce potential downtime and data loss.

Promote innovation: The agility and experimentation of cloud resources allow your team to develop and test new ideas more quickly.

What do I need to know about cloud and data security?

No matter the size of your business, you need to keep your data safe and secure. To do that, here are some important aspects that we believe every business owner should know.

You should update and patch your security systems regularly: Outdated software is one of the major vulnerabilities that hackers can exploit. To stay protected against these cyber threats, it’s essential to regularly update and patch all your security systems and software, from firewalls, antivirus software, to your email software or server operating systems. 

Human error is a security risk: It can happen to the very best of us. And our actions can make our data vulnerable to cyber attacks. We can all accidentally click on a malicious link, pick an easy-to-remember password, or overlook a few security steps. So, make sure you’re training your team about the best practices in cyber security as this can make a huge difference.

Regularly back up your data: It’s essential to have a backup of your data and a disaster recovery plan in place in case a cyber attack happens. And your data backups should be stored in a secure, offsite location, protected against physical threats like fires or floods.  

Learn about different types of cyber attacks: There are malware (like viruses and ransomware), phishing attacks, data breaches, and insider threats, to name a few. Now, each of these cyber threats requires different preventative measures, so it’s important to know them and which ones are the most common in your market.

Implement clear IT security policies: Having IT policies regularly updated to reflect new threats and technology is a must. You can cover everything from password requirements to acceptable use policies for company equipment in these IT security policies.

Read more about data security

What are the best practices for cloud adoption?

Here are some best practices that will help your business and teams take full advantage of migrating to the cloud.

Build a clear cloud strategy

Defining your business’s main objectives and the specific benefits you expect from cloud adoption is the backbone of a great cloud strategy. It should also include learning about the different types of cloud deployment models (public, private, hybrid) and deciding which one best suits your needs.

Find out how to migrate your business to the cloud in 4 steps

Pick the right cloud service provider

Start by researching and comparing the plans of different cloud service providers on the market. The idea is to find the one that best aligns with your business requirements, budget, and long-term goals. Some factors to take into consideration when making your decision are security, performance, reliability, scalability, and cost. 

Analyze workload and application characteristics

Based on factors like data sensitivity, interdependencies, resource needs, etc., you need to evaluate which applications and IT services are most suitable for the cloud. Keep in mind that not all workloads benefit from migrating them to the cloud. 

Implement security measures

Security should be your top concern when adopting the cloud. That’s why your new cloud infrastructure should follow industry-standard security practices and regulatory requirements, such as encrypting data, implementing robust identity and access management controls, etc.

Optimize the performance and cost-efficiency of your applications

You can do that by implementing cloud-native tools and services, such as auto-scaling, load balancing, and containerization. We also recommend regularly monitoring and analyzing resource usage so that you can easily identify and eliminate issues.

Educate your team on Cloud technologies

Your IT team needs to have the necessary skills and expertise to manage your cloud infrastructure. By providing ongoing training and certification opportunities you can help them stay updated with the latest cloud technologies and best practices.

Is Cloud Computing secure?

A lot of businesses are making the switch to cloud services, but there’s always the concern about keeping data safe, right? Well, cloud security is actually pretty robust when done correctly.

Cloud providers have some really solid defenses in place. For example, they use encryption to protect the data wherever it lives in their systems. There’s also strict physical access control to server facilities with ID checks and guards. And IT teams constantly monitor activity looking for anything abnormal while automatically patching known vulnerabilities.

To make setup simple, vendors provide predefined security templates so best practices are configured out-of-the-box. This ensures proper rules for authentication, authorization and access management without needing an in-house expert. Even small companies can match what big enterprises do easily.

Dedicated security staff are also there 24/7 monitoring for hacker tricks and responding fast if a real threat arises. That’s invaluable compared to trying to DIY defenses with limited budgets and talent. And data centers have firewalls, anti-malware, activity logging – you name it.

Now, of course, the cloud can’t eliminate all risks. But as long as configurations and sensitive apps are properly monitored and segmented, cloud computing provides solid security for today’s always-on digital world.

What is Cyber Essentials certification and why is this important for my business?

Cyber Essentials is a UK government-backed security certification scheme designed to help businesses protect themselves against common cyber threats. This is a cyber security certification that in fact adds an essential layer of protection for your business. 

By having your business follow and implement a set of guidelines and best practices, you actually have an improved cyber security environment. 

This verifiable program is overseen by independent experts who require you to systematically assess your business risks, implement controls, and monitor and continuously update your systems. 

A Cyber Essentials certification is very important for your business as it demonstrates your business commitment to cyber security and protects your customers’ data. It also reduces the risk of cyber threats that could disrupt business operations and processes.

Read more about Cyber Essentials

What are the security risks if my business uses AI tools?

If you’re using AI tools, especially the free ones, these are the biggest security threats you should be aware of. 

The data added to an AI system can be manipulated to misclassify or make incorrect decisions. These types of attacks are called adversarial attacks and are difficult to detect and defend against.

If your data is not properly secured, it can be exploited or stolen by unauthorized individuals, leading to privacy breaches.

AI technologies can be used to automate and power cyber attacks. For example, it is possible to use AI for more effective phishing attacks, malware distribution, and data breaches.

Cyber criminals can also use AI to create autonomous weapons that can make decisions without any human intervention. This can lead to unexpected consequences and could raise ethical concerns.

AI can be used to create realistic fake videos, images, audio, or text (known as deepfakes). These can all be used to spread disinformation or commit fraud.

AI models are what we call “black boxes” as it’s difficult to understand the reasons behind their decisions. This lack of transparency is what makes it challenging to know when an AI system has been compromised or is behaving unexpectedly. 

AI systems are vulnerable to human error too. Misconfigurations or poor coding practices can lead to security vulnerabilities within AI systems.

Read more about the biggest security risks when using AI

How to protect your business against AI security threats?

If you want your business to stay protected against AI security threats, here’s what you need to do:

  • Implement strong security measures: Set in place the right security tools, from firewalls, encryption, and intrusion detection systems to other security software to detect and prevent breaches. And make sure your systems are always up-to-date and regularly patched to address any security vulnerabilities.
  • Educate your team about AI risks: Ensure your team knows the potential threats posed by AI through regular security training sessions that can teach them all about these threats and how to identify and respond to them.
  • Use AI for defense: There are efficient AI tools that can help detect unusual patterns in your network traffic, identify potential threats, and respond quickly to breaches.
  • Conduct risk assessments: Conduct risk assessments that help you identify potential vulnerabilities in your systems and processes. 
  • Develop an incident response plan: This should outline the steps you need to take in the event of a security breach, such as how to contain the breach, assess the damage, and notify affected parties.
  • Have third-party audits: Have your security systems and procedures regularly audited by a third party and ensure they are up to standard.
  • Protect your data: Limit access to your business-sensitive information, and make sure it’s encrypted both at rest and in transit. You can do this by implementing strong access controls and multi-factor authentication.
  • Update regularly: Always update and upgrade your security systems and tools so that these can deal with new and emerging cyber threats.

How can hackers use AI in their cyber attacks?

Phishing and spam: Hackers are now using AI to make phishing emails, texts and websites more personalized and therefore more convincing.

Password cracking: AI-based password cracking tools can guess passwords much faster by learning patterns from large datasets of real passwords.

Malware evasion: Malware authors use generative AI models to produce malware variants that pass through traditional antivirus software.

Deepfakes: Hackers are exploring the use of AI-generated fake media (or deepfakes) for social engineering attacks and spreading misinformation.

Adaptive cyber attacks: AI planning and reinforcement learning techniques allow cyber attacks to become more intelligent and adaptive to network defenses.

Customized cyber attacks: Hackers are now experimenting with AI systems to generate customized cyber attacks for a specific business or an individual based on their digital profiles and vulnerabilities.

AI-based social engineering: Chatbots and virtual assistants powered by AI conversational models can be developed for advanced social engineering and human hacks.

Discover the biggest security risks when using AI