Key Public Cloud Use Cases: Unlocking Business Potential
Public cloud computing can open a business up to previously inaccessible opportunities, improving scalability, cost-effectiveness, and innovation for existing applications and business features. Some industries have been faster to adopt public cloud than others. For example, financial institutions and healthcare organizations that have more sensitive workloads and legacy systems to migrate to new cloud environments can be slower to adapt compared to technology companies. However, all industries can find powerful uses for the public cloud in their everyday operations, leading to cost savings, more scalable resources, and user-friendly features. We’ll go through a few public cloud use cases, as well as how businesses can take advantage of working with managed public cloud providers to get the most out of these environments.
Understanding Public Cloud
Public cloud computing started to become popular in the early 2000s. Amazon Web Services (AWS) started offering Elastic Compute in August 2006, and Microsoft Azure came not long after in 2010. Resources in the public cloud come from a provider like this and are available to multiple companies within a public cloud data centers owned and managed by providers, like Amazon and Microsoft. This eliminates the need for organizations to purchase their own equipment or manage their own facilities.
A Brief Intro to Cloud Service Models
Three main cloud service models deliver the cloud to users – infrastructure as a service (IaaS), platform as a service (PaaS), and software as a service (SaaS). Each model offers its own levels of flexibility and management capabilities that make it well-suited for specific business use cases.
Infrastructure as a Service (IaaS)
Virtualized computing via the internet is provided by Infrastructure as a Service (IaaS). In this model, a cloud vendor hosts the computing infrastructure and resources necessary to manage the environment, including networking, servers, storage, and virtualization. Meanwhile, end users are able to control the operating systems, software, and applications used on the infrastructure. This model offers the greatest flexibility for organizations while leaving the data center management to an outside party.
Platform as a Service (PaaS)
The infrastructure, runtime environment, development tools, and means to deploy and manage applications are done within the Platform as a Service (PaaS) environment. Like SaaS, it offers a pay-as-you-go model but has more flexibility with configurations compared to SaaS. This model is a good fit for businesses looking to develop, test, and deploy software applications.
Software as a Service (SaaS)
Software is licensed to end-users and organizations through Software as a Service (SaaS). Generally provided as a subscription-based service, this model allows access from any device and prevents businesses from having to maintain software on their own computers. While it’s easy to use, there’s not a lot of flexibility in the way of customization – these are generally prepackaged applications.
Key Public Cloud Use Cases
Public cloud can be beneficial to businesses in almost any industry and any size. Here are a few examples of public cloud use cases by industry and workload.
The healthcare industry involves the sharing and exchange of highly sensitive health data tied to personally identifiable information (PII). Because of this, it’s important to work with public cloud providers that offer specialized healthcare clouds or vertical clouds that are HIPAA-compliant and meet any other stringent regulations for workloads that require more security. However, organizations able to navigate compliance requirements can take advantage of the highly scalable and flexible benefits of these healthcare-focused public cloud solutions.
Not only is telemedicine better supported by public cloud services, but remote care through IoT devices is an emerging use case that is likely to grow in popularity. Patients can wear certain devices to track their vitals and be monitored remotely by doctors, who are then able to quickly respond to critical information they receive through the devices. This connection has the potential to cut down on time to diagnosis, plan for better treatments, and even save lives.
eCommerce Use Case
eCommerce businesses, especially ones with seasonal fluctuations, can be helped greatly through public cloud. Many ECommerce sites experience increases and decreases in demand, aligning with major holidays or periodic sales. Instead of paying for the same level of resources year-round but only using them in peak moments, public cloud services allow these businesses to scale up or down additional resources as needed. While this still requires some planning to avoid overspending, when done right, it can save organizations from unnecessary cloud costs.
In addition to scalability, eCommerce businesses can leverage advanced analytics tools offered by public cloud providers. These tools can provide insights into customer behavior, purchasing patterns, and market trends. Machine learning algorithms can help optimize pricing strategies, personalize product recommendations, and enhance customer engagement.
Startup Use Case
Scalability is likewise important for startups, organizations that often have unpredictable resource needs, especially in their early years. To be successful, startups have to be smart about where they allocate the funds they raise. Investing a large portion of their budget on capital expenditures (CapEx) such as hardware and other data center infrastructure can mean less room in the budget for other expenses that are more focused on growing the business. The public cloud allows for a “pay-as-you-go” model – startups can pay for what they expect to use on a regular basis upfront for a bulk discount and license the rest with an on-demand model.
Education Use Case
For K-12 institutions, cloud computing can provide powerful access for students and teachers alike. All students can have access to the same SaaS tools by logging into services on their home devices, perhaps even into a portal that offers several resources curated by the school. This can help students get on the same playing field, even if the individual capabilities of their devices are varied. Education institutions can also leverage data and analytics tools to track student progress and identify areas that need improvement.
Financial institutions, much like healthcare facilities, have to manage sensitive workloads, which may make them resist embracing public cloud technology. Moving to the cloud is also complex for the financial sector because of the compliance standards that have to be met, not to mention that many financial institutions are running on legacy systems that may have been built decades ago and will require significant legwork to migrate. However, all major cloud providers have invested significantly to meet regulatory security standards for financial institutions and can offer the technology needed to build applications and features specifically tailored to their customers in an iterative fashion with little to no downtime.
Tech Use Case
Customers and clients have high expectations of organizations in every industry – most people expect scheduling an appointment with a doctor to be as easy as ordering a pizza. However, companies in the tech industry are under even loftier expectations to innovate and remain competitive. Working within an on-premises data center can be limiting, both in scalability and the types of resources available. Technology companies that use public cloud services can take advantage of extremely low latency from a variety of connectivity options, scalable resources, and consistently up-to-date equipment, allowing them to focus on innovative new applications and offerings instead of on the infrastructural pieces that can require heavier investments on their time and money.
Tech companies that use public cloud services can also take advantage of a wide array of advanced services and innovative tools. There services include machine learning, artificial intelligence, big data analytics, and IoT platforms, which enable businesses to quickly prototype and deploy cutting-edge applications without the burden of building and managing the underlying infrastructure.
Trends Shaping the Future of the Use of Public Cloud
We’ve seen public cloud rise in popularity in recent years, made even more prevalent with an increased emphasis and importance on remote work. Other trends are also working to shape the future use of public cloud:
- Edge computing: With edge computing, resources are brought closer to the end user, moving to the “edge” of the network instead of being centralized in one data center. Edge computing can support a remote workforce. It can also better serve home or wearable IoT devices that benefit from low-latency connections, as well as autonomous vehicles (that require immediate decision-making capabilities) that may start to enter the market in greater numbers.
- Security and compliance: Every year, it gets easier to use public cloud resources while still satisfying necessary compliance and regulatory requirements. As public cloud providers continue to evolve and work to compete with one another, we can expect this trend to continue and lead to increases in public cloud adoption from industries with stricter standards.
- Cloud-native technologies: More technologies are being built with the cloud in mind. Enterprise resource planning (ERP) systems, practice management systems, accounting software, and more are prioritizing the cloud more than ever, making it even easier for organizations to migrate to public cloud providers.
- Growth of hybrid and multicloud: Hybrid and multicloud configurations are a good alternative for organizations that are looking to migrate to the cloud but need more customization or further support for legacy systems than what the public cloud can provide. Hybrid cloud includes public cloud and private cloud resources. When you add on-premises data centers and workloads, that’s known as Hybrid IT. Multicloud environments are often a mix of multiple public cloud resources. As more businesses adopt hybrid and multicloud environments, others will follow suit to take advantage of the scalability and flexibility afforded by these technologies.
Selecting the Right Managed Public Cloud Provider
Most major public cloud providers offer similar services and features, but determining which is right for you, and what other services or settings may be necessary to support your workloads, can be done most effectively with a partner who is skilled in managed public cloud services. TierPoint can help your organization elevate your public cloud capabilities and reinvent your business by offering access to successful cloud tools, proven techniques, and a team of dedicated experts who can help you get the most out of the cloud.
More >> Key Public Cloud Use Cases: Unlocking Business Potential