Essential Cloud Computing Terminology: Your Guide to the Cloud Code

Cloud and folders on digital displayCloud-based solutions have become standard in today’s business world, due to the flexibility, scalability, efficiency and other key advantages they offer to all kinds of organizations. This year, the global public cloud services market is expected to expand by 17.5 percent to reach $214.3 billion, compared to $182.4 billion in 2018, according to Gartner.

Due to the growing popularity of cloud offerings, vendors have come up with various types of solutions, with everything from infrastructure to contact center capabilities delivered as a service from the cloud. A range of different terms have begun to circulate to describe cloud solution categories. At times, all of this new cloud computing terminology might seem overwhelming and puzzling, especially the many acronyms that have popped up as shorthand for various services.

To help clear up any confusion, here are explanations of some key cloud computing terms you should know. Please keep in mind that this is not an exhaustive list of cloud-related terms.

Private cloud: A private cloud solution is managed internally/through a single organization. This option is generally more expensive than public cloud solutions, since only one business can access data, applications and other features. Larger enterprises and/or those that want the highest possible level of security might choose private clouds.

Public cloud: Unlike a private cloud platform, a public cloud solution is accessible to anyone who wants to pay and sign up for the service. Many organizations like public cloud options because they’re quick and easy to deploy.

Hybrid cloud: This approach involves using both public and private clouds. For instance, a business might house sensitive data and/or high-risk workloads on private clouds, while leveraging public cloud solutions for other low-risk processes. This multi-cloud method has become more popular in recent years.

XaaS: Everything as a Service (XaaS) refers to the overall phenomenon of solutions – such as security, disaster recovery, hosting, networking and more – offered via the cloud. A number of factors have driven the rise of XaaS, including the appeal of less hardware, cost containment, flexibility, accessibility, and easy set-up.

SaaS: Software as a Service (SaaS) generally describes a hosted application, or an app offered over the web by a services provider, according to Microsoft Azure.

SaaS might also refer to Security as a Service (cybersecurity services delivered remotely through the internet) or Storage as a Service (data storage via the cloud), according to CloudAcademy.

IaaS: Infrastructure as a Service (IaaS) offerings involve the cloud provider delivering virtualized computing resources – such as network equipment and servers – over the internet, according to Azure.

PaaS: Providers of Platform as a Service (PaaS) solutions deliver a whole platform via the cloud, according to CloudAcademy. That typically includes application, interface and database development, in addition to storage and testing.

Unified Communications as a Service (UCaaS) solutions offer cloud-based communication capabilities across various channels (e.g., web chat, text messaging, and video conferencing, among others) and for all devices. UCaaS platforms are in high demand due to their ability to boost productivity and help companies deliver a better customer experience (CX).

CCaaS: Contact Center as a Service (CCaaS) solutions enhance customer service with contact center software delivered through the internet, according to Genesys, a CCaaS provider and one of our partners. Features and capabilities include skills-based routing for all communication channels and omnichannel analytics, among others.  

Hopefully, this cloud glossary helps you navigate the market as you seek solutions that will give your business a leg up on the competition by allowing you to operate more efficiently. If you have any questions about cloud-related terms or solutions, feel free to reach out to our team of expert consultants.

We work with a wide range of cloud products – including the types described in this blog entry – from many different vendors in our extensive partner network, and we can offer you an objective assessment of your options’ pros and cons. Let us serve as your trusted advisor during the cloud solution selection process. Contact us today by calling 877-599-3999 or emailing

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