Cloud computing has taken a leading role in the current scenery of new technologies and in the business world. That is why it is worth taking an approach to the current situation and distinguishing the different services that you can offer to companies.
The universal use of the Internet, which currently and according to a report by We Are Social and Hootsuite is 4,388 million Internet users worldwide, coupled with advances in virtualization and distributed computing, have been the great catalyst for cloud growth computing
Proof of this expansive trend is the Harvard Business Review study that says 56% of companies already use two or three cloud application platforms. In addition, we can observe these growth figures in the publication of the consultancy Canalys, which reflects the growth of the most prominent companies in the sector throughout 2018:
- Google Cloud grew 46%.
- Amazon Web Services 47%.
- Microsoft Azure 76%.
- Alibaba Cloud 74%.
The cloud is clearly a future option that is practically becoming a reality, as Gartner’s predictions show, which tells us that by 2025 80% of companies will have migrated their data and services from their data centers to the cloud.
Having clear that cloud computing has arrived to stay, we must have several of the concepts that are associated with it. That is why we then review everything that cloud computing offers for companies, highlighting the types of cloud services they can enjoy.
What is cloud computing?
Cloud computing is a broad term that covers everything related to the services that are hosted on the internet. Among its main features and advantages we can highlight:
- Users can increase resources on demand, freeing administrators from that job.
- Companies can increase or decrease resources based on demand peaks and downs. With this it is not necessary to hire large amounts of storage with a view to the future if we do not need it at that time.
- You pay only for the resources that are used.
- Suppliers implement resources that guarantee a fault-resistant service that always works.
- The methods for migrating data and services from or from the cloud or between clouds are provided automatically or manually by the user.
Cloud computing can be implemented according to the following cloud models:
This type of cloud offers its services to any internet user. Its servers and storage belong to the service provider and the client only usually pays for the storage space or bandwidth they consume.
These clouds offer their services to a limited number of users through a company network. This network can be located in the company’s own facilities or those of an external provider.
As the name implies, this type of cloud is the result of a combination of the previous two. In this, data is stored in public or private clouds depending on the needs. For example, you can save the most sensitive information in the private cloud and the least critical in the public cloud or also use the public cloud for when there are work peaks that demand higher performance.
It is an option that is being adopted by many entities and that consists of several clouds between which the different services move and that can work simultaneously. With multicloud customers shield themselves against possible service interruptions.
Services within cloud computing
We can group the types of services provided by cloud computing into three large blocks.
Infrastructure as a Service (IaaS)
In it, the customer acquires from the external provider all the resources, such as servers, storage space in a data center or the equipment for networks.
It is usually carried out through a virtualization platform. Of the three types of services, it is the one that gives the user greater control and, therefore, the one that has the greatest complexity of use.
IaaS is ideal for developers, who can choose Operating System, storage quantity and other possibilities thanks to the total transparency of the service. Examples of IaaS are Microsoft Azure and Amazon Web Services.
Platform as a Service (PaaS)
With this model the provider provides the platform for application development, as well as its maintenance and management. In other words, it offers everything that is needed to complete the life cycle and deployment of such web applications or services.
Here the user lacks control over the storage infrastructure or networks. PaaS maintains automatic scalability, depending on what the situation demands. PaaS example is Google App Engine, where developers can create their applications in Java or Python.
Software as a Service (SaaS)
In this case, the client can only use software that is hosted in the cloud. Therefore, everything related to maintenance, development, support and operations is the responsibility of the company that offers the service.
The client will use the system hosted by that company, which will keep the client’s information in its systems and provide the necessary resources to exploit that information. In this group we can give as an example any web email service, such as Gmail.
Cloud computing and digital signature
We can consider identity and digital signature solutions as one of the great beneficiaries of the cloud computing takeoff. What do these benefits consist of? Let’s analyze it.
As we have commented on other occasions, the technical and legal possibilities of signing a document are multiple, depending on the scenario, technical, functional or legal requirements. In the European Union, the legal forms are the simple, advanced and qualified electronic signature.
The solutions based on the digital signature have also become part of the cloud ecosystem, however, a difficulty arises a priori, since firms that need a digital certificate, require before having our certificate installed locally, having to guard it, remember the password… This is where the cloud signature appears on the stage, also known as a centralized signature. This has the same fundamentals as the electronic signature with certificate, with the main difference that the custody of the certificate does not fall on the user itself, but on a secure and qualified server.
Being in the cloud, the certificate enjoys greater security, security that is reinforced with robust authentication methods, which consists of making use of at least two identifiers to perform any operation. These identifiers can be:
- Something the user knows (password).
- Something that the user has (key card, SMS token, OTP token).
- Something that the user does or is (signature, voice over, fingerprint, iris and other biometric factors).
In addition, the signature in the cloud is a great contribution in terms of streamlining administrative procedures, since you can proceed to sign from any device that has internet access.
The signature in the cloud or centralized, as it could not be otherwise, is regulated by the eIDAS Regulation, where it is known as a remote signature, providing a regulatory framework to make electronic interactions faster, usable, accessible and safe.
Viafirma offers its signature and digital identity solutions in the cloud, specifically in the SaaS mode, not needing any installation, maintenance and with considerable cost savings, and accessible from any device, desktop or mobile, with any operating system.
In Spain, there is increasing awareness of all the benefits that this technology can bring. In spite of this, we are still somewhat behind in the implementation of cloud computing, as expressed by Quint’s analysis on cloud computing in Spain, according to which 78% of companies invest less than 15% of its budget in SaaS and 67% spend less than 15% in IaaS and PaaS.
However, 2019 is expected to be the year of the great advance of cloud computing in our country. In fact, this same Quint study asserts that 82% of the companies consulted are planning to increase their investment in SaaS, while 83% plan to do so for IaaS and/or PaaS.
Definitely, cloud computing must be recognized as one of the most technological solutions to consider when developing and executing the different work methodologies of any company. And, of course, the digital identity and signature processes will also take advantage of everything that the cloud can provide.