Reduce IT Infrastructure Costs
As I've mentioned in the Cloud-up your business post, IaaS is related to IT infrastructure services that can be bought, or rented, over the Internet. For those who needs it most, this definition means nothing. In order to simplify it, here are some examples of infrastructures that are in use in businesses: storage, network services, security appliances and databases.
But how could you use export your organization storage, or network services, to the cloud?
Imagine that your business required 1TB of storage in 2008 to archive all invoices, customers' data, internal documents, accounting reports and so on. If you want a reliable way to store all this important data, and to allow access to it from every where, you would have to do the following:
(1) Buy at least 2 hard-drives (for redundancy) of 3 TB each (to allow future growth)
(2) Install it in a secure and appropriate place (so nobody would be able to steal it, or just accidentally trip over it)
(3) Connect it to the business network (using another computer or a router)
(4) Configure everything
(5) Define security policy and how to enforce it
(6) Routinely maintain the disks so it won't get fragmented (which affects speed and performance)
(7) Install UPS to the storage and network devices to allow availability in case of a power failure
Having done all this, and you still left with a major problem - if there are more than one physical locations for your office, or you wish to work from home, in every problem that may happen from those HDs to the remote location, you will loose your ability to work. If the UPS is down, if the cleaning lady/guy broke something by mistake, if the router has malfunctioned, if there are too many people accessing the HD at once, if... All would damage your work in the short run, and make you loose customers and business opportunities in the long run.
Using the alternative cloud-based storage is done as follows:
(1) Select your preferable service provider (such as Dropbox, Google Drive, Amazone Web Services, etc.)
(2) Sign-up for the service
(3) Configure all devices to work with the selected service
(4) Go to a happy-hour-beer-serving bar and watch a Euro 2012 football match
In this way, you would never have to worry about maintenance, or possible failures. As long as you have an Internet connection, you will always be able to access your business data. The IaaS service provider companies will take care of the rest - matinating the health of their storage device, the security policy, backups, replacing malfunctioned hardware, iron your shirts, and so one. And all for just a few dollars per month. Amazing, isn't it?!
This is also applied for network services, which allows you to set a secured network for your organization, without installing your own modems and routers from point-to-point. ISP are using advanced network technologies such as MPLS (Multiprotocol Label Switching) to set-up Virtual Private Networks (VPNs) according to their customers' needs and specifications. These VPNs acts as private networks for organizations and businesses allowing them to control traffic, ensure quality-of-service to end-users, enforce security policy and more. Before that, companies needed to install their own network appliance to benefit from these services. Nowadays, it is all one phone call away from being "installed" in your company and starting to save you money and increase your efficiency.
You can use Cloudorado, or alternative comparison websites, to compare between some of the IaaS providers.
The main takeaway is that almost everything can be bought/rented as a cloud service. All that needs to be done is to define the specifications of your needs and find the appropriate provider.