Cloud computing or the platter of hosted Internet services is the newest kid on the IT solutions block and it has taken over the realm by storm. There are many IT solutions around but probably none that resolves so many shortcomings and wrings in so many benefits.

Cloud computing IT solutions slash your operational costs by letting you access your data, web-based applications, and e-mails quickly and efficiently; remotely manage the changes in your business's hardware, software and database management systems; and implementing innovative desktop solutions that do away with the need to refresh your hardware or software. These solutions also reduce your business's carbon footprint by significant amounts.

Cloud computing facilitates these network support services:

* Infrastructure-as-a-Service (IaaS): This reflects to a provision model where a business outsources, to a service provider, the equipment it needs to perform its day-to-day operations. This may include the hardware, storage systems, the servers and networking parts. The service provider owns the equipment and the onus is on them to maintain and keep the machinery functional.

* Platform-as-a-Service (PaaS): This allows a business to deploy applications without having to bear the cost of purchasing, maintaining or facilitating hosting capabilities. This outsourced IT support service includes all facilities that assist the development and delivery of web applications and Internet-based services.

* Software-as-a-Service (SaaS): This reflects to the practice where businesses do not purchase software but instead have them deployed over the Internet or from behind a firewall. An IT solutions provider allows a business to use an application as a service on demand. The business has to either subscribe to this service or pay as per usage. Although originally meant to aid Customer Relationship Management (CRM) and sales force automation, this service is now being broadly used to complete tasks like automated billing, invoicing, human resource management, service desk management and content management.

* Hardware-as-a-Service (HaaS): Businesses in need of IT solutions are nowdays showing preference for managed services. Thus in the HaaS provision model, the business does not have to house the hardware in its promises. Rather the system remains with the IT solutions service provider and the business uses and pays for whole or part of the core functionality. The service provider is therefore responsible for maintaining, repairing and keeping the piece of hardware in working condition.

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