It once meant the puffy stuff in the sky. However, today, no other word has underdone such a drastic transformation in its usage than cloud. Amazon, Microsoft, and Google have all spent billions building their own clouds to sell, but exactly does it mean? In a nutshell the cloud is software and services which run on the internet. For instance, ten years ago if you needed a copy of Microsoft Office, you would hop in your car, drive to Circuit City (remember when that was a thing?), pick up a disc, and install it onto your computer. Today, Microsoft offers a cloud based version of Office called Office 365. To use it, you register on the office 365 website, pay a yearly fee, and that’s it. There’s no physical disc or installation, everything is through the internet. The 3 most common types of cloud based services are: Software as a Service, Platform as a Service, and Infrastructure as a Service:
Software as a Service: Apps and software which are delivered through the internet and are not stored on your computer. Think of Google Apps (now G Suite), Quickbooks Online, or Office 365.
Platform as a Service: Provides the environment, tools, and software for organizations to create and manage their own cloud based apps and services. Think of Amazon AWS or GoDaddy.
Infrastructure as a Service: A platform which provides hardware and computing resources through the cloud. Users are responsible for the setup, configuration, and ongoing management of the virtual space. An IaaS provider simply maintains the physical hardware.