Cloud Computing Basics Every CMO Needs to Know


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Cloud Computing BasicsThe data and analytics changes that marketers have faced recently are only the tip of the iceberg. Customers are informed and businesses require more sophistication to drive insights. The right technology can put business leaders ahead of the curve. To better align with CIO's and handle this changing business environment, CMO's must understand the basics of cloud computing.

Cloud Computing 101

Clouds are by definition scalable: Business can pay more to access more services, and scale back the level of services by paying less.

A cloud vendor owns the servers, infrastructure and programs provided and rents these to consumers. There are a number of different cloud vendors; each may offer a different type of service and charge a different fee for its services. Technically, a cloud vendor offers an Internet-based approach to computing, storage and/or development. Most companies focus on offering. You can get private cloud hosting, public cloud hosting or hybrid cloud hosting, a mixture of public and private. Typically, these companies focus on offering one of these three services, and each service represents one particular layer of the cloud.

Cloud Computing Service Models

There are three important acronyms that explain different service options offered by cloud vendors and correlate to the difference levels of the cloud: IaaS, PaaS and SaaS. 

  •  IaaS: Infrastructure as a Service provides access to scalable computing hardware or infrastructure. The cloud vendor provides the server, hardware and networking and rents access for a fee. A company can then purchase infrastructure from a dedicated IaaS provider, then scale up as their needs change. This often allows companies to purchase powerful services at a lower cost than they would pay for a traditional system.
  • PaaS: Platform as a Service offers many of the same advantages of IaaS. It's scalable, often cheaper than purchasing traditional services and delivered via the Internet. Whereas IaaS provides the raw infrastructure, PaaS provides ready-to-use platforms that are ideal for developing and deploying applications and collaborating across workspaces.
  • SaaS: In SaaS or Software as a Service, a cloud vendor provides scalable software access to software hosted on its servers. These applications, used alone or in tandem, might support file storage, data backup, videoconferencing, customer relationship management or other business tasks. This is the layer you'll interact with in daily life. With SaaS, companies can access the software via a Web interface. Because remote employees can access the same software as other workers, collaboration is easier. The vendor performs all maintenance and upgrading, and all employees utilize the same version of the software. Employers often pay less for SaaS that they would for licensing the software appropriately for each user, a distinct advantage.

Some of these may be right for your businesses; others may not provide the services you need. By understanding the basics layers of the cloud and the purpose of each, you'll be able to advocate for enterprise needs and work hand in hand with your CIO to strengthen enterprise resources.

Amy Bishop
Amy works in marketing and digital strategy. Specializing in social business, Amy focuses on the convergence of marketing, digital strategy and customer experience - developing strategies to help companies increase sales, lead generation, web traffic and brand awareness. Connect with Amy on Twitter, LinkedIn or Pinterest.


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