VanillaSoft-Swoosh-Logo-Color---White-Yellow-(2017) copy

Table of Contents


Don't have time to read it now? Download it and take it with you to read later.

Download to Read Later


What is Cloud Computing?

In the past decade, we’ve witnessed the staggering growth of cloud computing. Although it’s a relatively new technology, the cloud has quickly become the word on everyone’s lips, and the momentum it gained is only expected to increase.

Chances are, you’re already using cloud computing even if you’re not aware of it.

But what is cloud computing?

software as a serviceSimply put, cloud computing refers to the delivery of computing services – including servers, software, databases, storage, networking, analytics, and intelligence. These services are delivered over the internet, so users can easily access them by simply logging in from any device with an internet connection.

This allows multiple users to access a shared file or a program and collaborate from different locations in real-time.

Data storage is outsourced to outside parties and resides in secure data centers, offering more room for growth, more flexibility, and cost-effectiveness.

Cloud computing allows you to pay only for services you actually want to use. Services and software environments are subscription-based, requiring monthly payments instead of buying a license, which helps you lower the costs and scale as your needs change.

Moreover, as computing power is remote and not centralized, users have more room to tap into additional capacity if business spikes.

How cloud computing changed the game

It can be easy to forget how businesses operated before cloud computing. 

From manual software installations to clunky hardware, it wasn’t always so simple to maintain IT infrastructures. Moreover, a failure or a loss of a single device could cause major issues for business and potentially even result in complete loss of data.

When cloud computing became widespread, it solved many issues workplaces used to face:

  • Large servers – With cloud storage, companies no longer need to house their own servers and keep massive hardware on-premise.
  • IT department – Companies no longer need to have a dedicated in-house IT support team to maintain their software and hardware. Tedious manual tasks such as updates and backups are automated thanks to cloud computing.
  • Limited access – Employees are no longer tied to the office and everyone can easily access important information regardless of their location. Cloud computing made way for seamless remote work and collaboration.
  • Manual backups – Employees no longer have to manually back up data on external devices, hard drives, and discs.
  • Outdated off-the-shelf software – Software updates used to be a huge task for IT teams that required a lot of time and resources. Not only did they have to be manually installed on every single device, but they also had to be replaced every few years, which meant buying a new version of software whenever it’s released.
  • Data loss – Natural disasters and hardware failures used to be a serious threat to the company’s records. Locally stored data was vulnerable to failures, but cloud storage eliminated these issues.
  • Duplicate versions of files – Constantly sending files via email back and forth made it difficult to keep track of different versions on different devices. Files stored in the cloud are automatically updated and the changes can be seen in real-time.

serverless computingOld-school IT infrastructures have always been expensive and difficult to maintain. They required a daunting quantity and variety of software and hardware in order to keep them running smoothly. The maintenance of these infrastructures required dedicated IT teams, who were in charge of installing, configuring, testing, securing, and updating them. Needless to say, IT support teams also come at a high cost.

By moving to the cloud, you can eliminate all of these issues that come with storing your own data. It allows you to take advantage of shared infrastructures, only pay for storage and features you really need, easily scale up or down, and automatically update and upgrade software.

Cloud computing completely changed the game by offering solutions that are scalable, accessible, secure, and cost-effective and made outdated IT infrastructures a thing of the past.

Uses of cloud computing

From mobile banking to streaming music and movies, most of us already use cloud computing in our day-to-day lives. There’s no doubt that cloud-based platforms have become universally widespread, especially in the business world.

In fact, even 92% of organizations report that their IT infrastructure is at least partially in the cloud.

Many business processes can be optimized with cloud computing. Cloud storage platforms such as Google Drive and Dropbox allow for automated backups and seamless collaboration, cloud-based HR and payroll software help automate menial tasks and reduce the risk of human error, CRM and ERP systems provide centralized databases that help businesses streamline their day-to-day operations.

Cloud computing has many different applications:

  • Create cloud-native applications – cloud-native technologies and approaches can help you quickly build and deploy web and mobile applications. Currently, 46% of applications were built specifically for the cloud environment.
  • Test and build applications – you can also reduce development costs and save time by using easily scalable cloud infrastructures.
  • Store, back up, and recover data – by storing your data in the cloud, you can easily access it from any device, but you can also retrieve that data in case of device failure.
  • Analyze data – with the help of machine learning and artificial intelligence, you can analyze data from the cloud and gain valuable insights that can help you make more informed decisions.
  • Deliver software on demand – on-demand software, also known as software as a service (SaaS), allows you to provide the latest software versions and updates to customers.

Different types of cloud computing

Get a VanillaSoft Demo

Not all clouds are built the same. There are two main classifications you should know about.

SaaS  IaaS  PaaS

3 types of cloud services: SaaS, IaaS, and PaaS

On one side of the spectrum lies IaaS.

Of all types of cloud services, IaaS is the most open-ended and allows the highest level of customization. However, it is a self-service that requires a specific set of skills and technical knowledge, so it’s more suitable for tech-savvy users and calls for a dedicated IT team.

Similar to IaaS, the PaaS service provider takes care of back-end concerns such as infrastructure, data storage, and security, but, unlike IaaS, PaaS is not entirely open-ended. It also provides the building blocks such as code libraries, development tools, and preconfigured app components, which make software creation much more accessible.

On the other side of the spectrum is SaaS. It is the most user-friendly type of cloud computing, and ease of use makes SaaS the most common one.

SaaS delivers fully functional, ready-to-use products to end-users. It provides complete, user-ready applications over the internet. These applications require no maintenance from users, as it is all handled by the vendor.

Typically they don’t even have to be downloaded and installed on each individual device, saving technical staff valuable time.

Using these programs doesn’t require any technical skills and knowledge, such as coding and programming, and they are generally intuitive and easy to use. Some of the notable examples include Google Apps, Microsoft Office 365 products, Dropbox, and Slack.

Besides being the simplest and most straightforward type of cloud service, SaaS also provides readily available customer support, making it even more user-friendly.

cloud storage

3 types of cloud deployment: public, private, and hybrid clouds

Similar to the previous classification, some types of cloud deployment require a more hands-on approach and more technical skills than others.

With a private cloud, all cloud computing resources are used exclusively by a single user. Companies can keep their hardware and data centers on-premise or outsource hosting their private cloud. 

On the other hand, when it comes to public clouds, all software, hardware, and other infrastructure are both owned and managed by the provider.

You can create a user account and access these services via a web browser, but they are owned and operated by a third-party provider.

Public cloud providers are in charge of maintaining hardware and the servers necessary to deliver their services, meaning that you never have to worry about maintenance and hardware updates on your end.

With public cloud providers, you’ll be able to scale your business when needed without a huge initial investment simply by switching to a different plan once you see an increase in demand. This will help you reduce operational costs and increase efficiency.

The most notable examples of public clouds are AWS and Microsoft Azure, with 31% and 20% share in the global cloud service market.

Public cloud is the most convenient type of cloud deployment and for that reason, it’s no surprise it’s the most widely used one.

Recently, another type of cloud is becoming increasingly popular. Combining elements of both public and private clouds, a hybrid cloud offers the ability to instantly scale capacity up to handle demand increase beyond on-premise capacity.

Hybrid cloud also allows data and applications to be shared between multiple cloud infrastructures, offering greater flexibility, security, and more deployment options.

Benefits of cloud computing

There's a limited amount of time and resources a business can divide between all of its responsibilities.

If you’re focusing too much of your attention on your current IT solutions and solving data-storage issues, you won’t be able to work on solving other important issues and reaching your business goals.

Taking care of your entire IT infrastructure can be overwhelming, but opting for cloud computing and outsourcing IT hosting and maintenance can allow you to devote more time to other aspects of your business.

Here are some reasons why you should consider moving your business to the cloud.

Cost reduction

costs savingsImplementing new technologies is usually something that comes with a hefty price tag.

Although making a switch to the cloud does require an initial investment, cloud computing will help you reduce the costs of maintaining and managing your systems over time.

Here are some more reasons cloud computing can help you reduce costs:

  • You don’t have to pay for system upgrades and new hardware, they’re usually covered by the cloud service provider;
  • you don’t need to have a team of experts on your payroll;
  • you can reduce energy consumption and lower your electricity bill;
  • you should experience less downtime.

Instead of purchasing expensive equipment and setting up your own servers, you can take advantage of the resources your cloud computing service provider offers for a fraction of the price.

Once you switch to the cloud, you can pick and choose the features you actually want to use and avoid spending money on those you don’t really need. Most cloud providers implement a pay-as-you-go principle, so you don’t have to pay for the features you’re not planning to use.

The pay-as-you-go principle applies not only to features but also to the data storage space, meaning that you won’t be charged for any space that you don’t need.


You might be worried that opting for fewer features and less storage to reduce costs will prevent your growth in the long run. However, this shouldn’t be a concern.

If your needs change as you go, you can also easily scale up or down and choose a plan that better suits your current requirements. As your business grows, you can add services, add users, add bandwidth, or even add more cloud service providers to accommodate growth over time.

Cloud computing offers more flexibility than hosting on a local server. If you need extra storage or bandwidth, you can instantly get them with a cloud-based service without undergoing complex and expensive infrastructure updates.

Scalability is one of the crucial benefits of cloud computing. Cloud environments are flexible and can be easily adapted as your needs change and your business grows. 

This improved flexibility makes a big difference and can significantly improve the overall efficiency of your organization.

Mobility and accessibility

We couldn’t imagine modern workplaces without web-enabled devices, and, as the number of these devices continues to grow, data has become more accessible than ever.

Cloud computing enables you to access your business at any time, wherever you are – all you need is a device with internet access. 

As schedules get busier and remote work becomes more and more popular, mobility and accessibility are more important than ever. Cloud computing is a great way to make information easily accessible and make sure that everyone is in the loop.

Collaboration efficiency

Another major benefit of cloud computing is that the cloud environment allows for more efficient and streamlined collaboration.

As remote work becomes increasingly prominent, the ability to communicate and collaborate across different locations is more important than ever.

Cloud computing enables teams to remotely work on the same projects at the same time, from different locations, and easily access all necessary files, documents, and applications. You can also securely share files with third parties, contractors, and advisors.

cloud computing servicesData loss prevention

If you still haven’t invested in a cloud computing service, all of your data is tied to the device it resides in. Locally stored data is vulnerable to data loss and it can be difficult to keep track of manual backups.

This can cause big problems, as local hardware can be unreliable and prone to breakage, potentially causing data loss.

Devices can malfunction for many reasons, from viral infections to hardware deterioration over time, and these incidents are far more common than you might think. Furthermore, devices can get misplaced or stolen, along with your data.

With cloud computing, on the other hand, the data uploaded to the cloud will remain safe and accessible from any device connected to the internet, even if other devices break or get lost.

Business continuity

In order to ensure business continuity, it is necessary to protect your data and your systems. 

Unfortunately, there are always some things that will be completely out of your control, no matter how careful you are. From device failures to natural disasters, there are many threats you need to keep in mind if your data is stored on-premise.

Downtime in your services can cause many negative effects, from productivity loss to reputational damage.

However, storing your data in the cloud ensures that your data is not only stored in a safe location but also that it can be quickly recovered in emergency situations such as natural disasters and power outages. This means that you’ll be able to quickly access your data in case any issues arise and continue to conduct business as usual.


When moving to cloud computing, many businesses have concerns about security. Keeping your data off-site and not having full control over how it’s stored can seem scary, but it shouldn’t be.

Keep in mind that it is one of the cloud provider’s main responsibilities to keep your data safe and secure. Moreover, cloud providers usually use far superior technology to what most businesses use to keep data on-premise, so they are actually more reliable when it comes to data protection.

Access to automatic software updates

Organization-wide software updates can take a lot of time and resources. If your IT staff has to manually install and update the software every time, it can quickly become inefficient and costly.

Most cloud computing service providers offer automatic updates and, depending on the provider, this might even be included in your service fee.

Automatic software updates can save valuable time for your IT department and reduce the amount of money spent on outsourcing IT consultation.


Considering the current state of the environment, businesses need to take some serious steps to become more sustainable. In order to achieve real sustainability, businesses need to find a way to be less wasteful at every level of their business.

Cloud computing is one of the ways to become more environmentally friendly and reduce a company's carbon footprint.

Favoring virtual services over hardware and physical products, cloud infrastructures can help businesses cut down on paper waste, use energy more efficiently, and even reduce emissions due to employee commuting by enabling easy access to remote employees.

Cloud Computing Best Practices

1. Choose the right cloud service provider

The first and the most obvious thing you should look into when choosing a cloud provider is reputation. However, while choosing a reputable provider is important, there are also other, more tangible factors you should consider.

Namely, you want to opt for a provider that operates with multiple data centers in different locations. That way you’ll ensure that your data is protected against natural disasters, as well as geopolitical turmoil.

Next, you want to think about privacy, security, and regulatory compliance. Your cloud provider should have clear data protection and data classification policies and procedures put in place and comply with relevant laws and regulations.

Another important factor to take into account is payment arrangement. Most providers offer on-demand services and operate based on a pay-as-you-go model. This is the best option as it can easily accommodate variable demand and you can avoid paying for services you don’t actually use.

Lastly, you want to choose a company that seems stable and financially strong. You want to think about the long-term relationship and opt for a company that’s likely to stay in business in the long run.

2. Optimize security

It’s crucial to evaluate your existing IT security policies and scan vulnerabilities before entering a relationship with a cloud service provider.

Typically, cloud service providers have better control and more cybersecurity expertise and resources than in-house IT departments.

It is their full-time job to monitor cloud infrastructure and their success depends on managing to keep your data secure. Nevertheless, you should discuss how and when your cloud service provider will handle and report failures and security breaches if they do happen.

3. Prioritize data protection

One of the most effective ways to ensure data protection is by restricting access. But before you do that, you first need to classify your data by sensitivity.

Each type of data should be handled according to the level of risk unauthorized disclosure would present. That’s why it’s essential to know exactly how and where your data is stored and who has access to it.

Get a VanillaSoft Demo

Is my data going to be
secure in the cloud?

With many high-profile data breaches in the past few years, data security has become one of the top concerns. Keeping your sensitive data in the cloud might sound intimidating, but the truth is, cloud providers can keep much better care of your data than you can do yourself.

Cloud SecurityData security is a crucial task that requires a dedicated team of professionals and state-of-the-art technology. For most companies, this is unattainable due to high costs.

However, for cloud providers, data security is a full-time job they dedicate a lot of their time and resources to. From teams of skilled data security experts to the latest hardware and impenetrable software, cloud providers do everything in their power to protect user’s sensitive data.

VanillaSoft has a comprehensive information security program that ensures both compliance with relevant laws and ethical data processing according to industry standards.

It contains various technical, physical, administrative, and organizational security measures and safeguards crafted not only to ensure security and confidentiality of sensitive data but also to avoid any anticipated threats and protect against data breaches.

VanillaSoft’s data protection measures include the following:

  • As data owners, the users have full control over their data, and VanillaSoft acts strictly as a data processor on behalf of data owners and under their instructions;
  • Utilizing hard-disk encryption at rest and SSL encryption during transport to ensure data privacy and confidentiality;
  • Utilizing state-of-the-art hosting facilities with backup energy sources, multiple internet connections, and strict access controls to ensure data security;
  • Having data centers in multiple locations in order to diminish any effects of regional disruptions, such as natural disasters;
  • Performing regular security scans to look for security vulnerabilities and fix any issues that may arise from those scans;
  • Quickly responding to any request for data deletion and making sure that data is permanently and irretrievably erased;
  • Limiting access to personal data and making sure that it’s only granted to personnel on a need-to-know basis and that employees who have access to personal data are under enforceable contractual or statutory obligation to ensure data confidentiality;
  • Providing training and education to personnel who have access to personal data to ensure security, privacy, and confidentiality of the data;

Putting any third-party vendors through a detailed selection process to make sure they can deliver an appropriate level of data security and privacy.

The future of cloud computing

Considering the positive impact it made on the way we use applications and store data, there’s no doubt that the popularity of cloud computing will only continue to grow in the future.

You might be wondering what changes we can expect to see in the cloud computing landscape in the years to come. Here are some possibilities:

  • Cloud adaptation will only continue to expand.
  • We can expect to witness some exponential advances in processing capability.
  • The next major wave of technological innovations is already emerging in the form of artificial intelligence (AI), advanced data analytics, IoT, and edge computing – which are almost always tied to a cloud environment.
  • Businesses will likely rely more on hybrid clouds and adopt multi-cloud strategies that will allow them to combine services from different cloud providers. 
  • No-code and low-code platforms will continue to make technology more accessible and empower those without technical knowledge or skills to create their own apps without hiring programmers.
  • Internet-connected devices and wearable technology such as smart home devices, security systems, fitness trackers, etc. will gain more popularity.
  • Cloud will likely become more integrated into modes of transportation – from smarter elevators to self-driving cars and subways, and even aviation. 

No matter which of these predictions actually come to life, one thing is for sure – the cloud will continue to be one of the top areas of expansion in the tech industry.

Cloud computing statistics,
trends, and predictions


  • Compared to 2019, total cloud infrastructure services spending for the full-year 2020 grew by 33%, from $107 billion in 2019 to $142 billion in 2020. (Canalys)
  • In the last quarter of 2020, cloud infrastructure spendings increased to $39.9 billion, which was more than $3 billion higher than the previous quarter and almost $10 billion higher than the last quarter of 2019. This was the largest quarterly expansion in terms of spendings, as cloud demand increased during the pandemic. Cloud became necessary to support remote work, eCommerce, collaboration, content streaming, and remote learning. (Canalys)
  • Amazon Web Services (AWS) was once again the leading cloud service in the last quarter of 2020, with 31% of the total share in the global cloud services market. Compared to Q4 2019, AWS experienced 28% growth in Q4 2020. (Canalys)
  • Microsoft’s Azure was the second most popular cloud service, with a 20% share in the global cloud services market. Compared to 2019, Azure’s growth rate accelerated by 50%. (Canalys)
  • With a 7% share, Google Cloud was the third largest cloud service provider, reporting a growth of 58% in Q4 2020. (Canalys)
  • It is expected that 32% of IT budgets will be allocated to cloud computing within the next year. (IDG)
  • According to the 2020 Gartner Cloud End-User Buying Behavior Survey, almost all of the respondents reported that their organization is planning to increase or at least maintain IT spending on cloud computing during the next year. (Gartner)
  • According to Flexera, even 92% of enterprises embrace a multi-cloud strategy, while 82% have a hybrid cloud strategy. (Flexera)
  • The overwhelming majority of organizations reported that IT infrastructure is at least somewhat in the cloud, as only 8% reported that their entire IT infrastructure is on-premises. (IDG)
  • Cloud-first applications are becoming more prevalent. Currently, 54% of organization’s cloud-based applications were moved from an on-premises environment and 46% of applications were built specifically for the cloud environment. (IDG)
  • It is expected that 40% of all enterprise workloads will be deployed in the cloud by 2023, compared to only 20% in 2020. (Gartner)
  • More than 55% of organizations are currently using multiple public clouds, and 21% reported they’re using three or more clouds. (IDG)
  • According to Flexera, even 92% of enterprises embrace a multi-cloud strategy, while 82% have a hybrid cloud strategy. (Flexera)
  • Controlling cloud costs as well as data privacy and security issues are some of the biggest challenges that organizations face when trying to take full advantage of public cloud resources. (IDG)


Back end – Infrastructure, code, and data responsible for operating applications and websites. It’s not visible to users, it operates behind the scenes.

Cloud bursting – Application deployment model that allows private clouds to burst into the public cloud, meaning that once private cloud resource capacity is used, the overflow traffic will be directed to the public cloud.

Cloud computing – computer system resources, such as computing power and data delivered on-demand to users over the internet, typically without direct active management by the user.

Cloud migration – the process of moving data, applications, and services that were previously stored on-premise to the cloud.

Cloud-native – The approach to developing applications specifically for cloud environments, taking advantage of cloud computing delivery models.

Cloud service providers – companies that provide cloud-based infrastructure, storage, applications, and other services for a fee.

Cloud storage – A service offering offsite storage solutions maintained by a third party.

Customer relationship management (CRM) – CRM systems help companies streamline interactions and stay connected with their customers, typically by using large amounts of information and data analysis.

Elasticity – The ability of a cloud system to adapt to workload changes by automatically provisioning and de-provisioning resources, so that available resources match current demand at all times.

Enterprise Resource Planning (ERP) – ERP software helps businesses manage a suite of integrated applications, used to collect, store, and manage data on a variety of business activities, such as supply chain, operations, manufacturing, human resource activities, etc.

Front end – Graphical interface, dashboards, and data that end users can see and interact with.

Hybrid cloud – Combining the benefits of both a private cloud and a public cloud. Typically, organizations use the private cloud for critical functions while the public cloud is used when computing needs are in higher demand.

Infrastructure as a Service (IaaS) – a model of cloud computing in which computing and storage resources are hosted by a vendor, who provides them to users as a service via the internet.

Multicloud – using multiple clouds from various third parties in order to minimize risk or test new clouds for functionality and cost.

Platform as a Service (PaaS) – a cloud computing model in which hardware and software tools necessary to develop and manage applications at scale are provided by vendors as a service via the internet.

Private cloud – Cloud infrastructure owned and operated by one organization. This infrastructure for a private cloud can be kept either onsite or at a remote location. Also known as on-premises cloud, corporate cloud, or internal cloud.

Public cloud – A type of cloud that is completely managed by a third party and available to the public. The public cloud is often referred to as simply the cloud.

Scalability – The ability of a cloud system to handle growth in workload and adapt to the increased demand. Scalability represents one of the biggest advantages of cloud computing.

Service level agreement (SLA) – A contract between a business and a cloud services provider that acts as a blueprint and a warranty, covering everything from data handling and security measures to data breaches and service interruptions.

Software as a Service (SaaS) – a cloud computing model in which applications are hosted by a vendor and provided as a service to users. These applications work based on a subscription model and are made available to users via the internet.

Virtual machine (VM) – a program that mimics the functions and behavior of an actual computer. It’s possible to have multiple VMs on a single server, mimicking multiple computers simultaneously.

Get a VanillaSoft Demo


I am extremely impressed with how easy it was to get started and train my marketers on the VanillaSoft solution. As well, I had a lot of flexibility on how I wanted this program to run for our company. Plus, customer service is EXCELLENT at VanillaSoft. I highly recommend VanillaSoft to anyone!
J Telecommunications

Jody Weinberg J Telecommunications

We have never been so successful. Since we started using VanillaSoft we have increased productivity by 175%! Also, working with the VanillaSoft team has been an incredible experience. They helped us customized our campaigns and page layout to fit our unique needs.
Hillel Michigan

Lauren E. Siegel Hillel Michigan