Cloud computing is the term used to describe access on demand to IT resources, which includes servers, applications (physical or virtual) tools for development and storage of data. These IT resources are housed in a remote datacenter managed by cloud services providers. The cloud computing infrastructure is typically accessed by users on a secure connection. Cloud services can be accessed via a subscription or by charging per usage.

Companies that adopt cloud systems can cut down on costs and time involved in maintaining IT infrastructure while freeing IT staff to focus on other more productive tasks. The savings that a business will see will depend on the system they choose to move to the cloud, as well as the systems they replace. A recent survey showed that IT and business professionals reported savings of between 30 to 50% by switching to cloud.

There are a variety of cloud-based service models available in the form of Software as a Service (SaaS), Platform as a Service and Infrastructure as a Service. SaaS is the most well-known model, and is probably the one that companies are already using. It provides the application layer–software such as CRM, email, and office software- via the internet, eliminating the necessity of maintaining or upgrading hardware.

Businesses also gain from the ease of scaling down or up the size of their servers and storage, only paying for what they require. This rapid elasticity can be a key feature for agile processes and for swiftly introducing new technologies into production. It also means that IT departments don’t need to worry about acquiring or maintaining expensive hardware and can depend on their cloud providers to stay up-to-date on latest technology advancements.