What Is Cloud Computing?

Cloud computing technology gives users access to storage, files, software, and servers through their internet-connected devices: computers, smartphones, tablets, and wearables. Cloud computing providers store and process data in a location that’s separate from end users.

Essentially, cloud computing means having the ability to store and access data and programs over the internet instead of on a hard drive. This means businesses of any size can harness powerful software and IT infrastructure to become bigger, leaner, and more agile, as well as compete with much larger companies. Unlike with traditional hardware and software, cloud computing helps businesses stay at the forefront of technology without having to make large investments in purchasing, maintaining, and servicing equipment themselves.

Learn how the World's Smartest CRM, powered by Einstein, and born in the cloud, guides sales people, assists customer service agents and helps marketers predict.


Types of Cloud Computing

There are many types of cloud computing, including Software as a Service (SaaS), Platform as a Service (PaaS), and Infrastructure as a Service (IaaS).


SaaS is a form of cloud computing in which users can access software applications without needing to download, install, or store that software and its various components on their devices or hard drive. Most cloud computing software of this kind is subscription-based with an annual or monthly fee. In return, users get seamless solutions and features without needing hardware, being bogged down by installing updates, or other maintenance tasks.

When it was founded, Salesforce was one of the first cloud computing and SaaS companies. Its Sales Cloud, Marketing Cloud, and Service Cloud are all cloud-based software applications.



Platform as a Service (PaaS) is a cloud computing solution that provides developers with an easy-to-use platform to create their own software, web applications, or other programming projects. Businesses use PaaS to create proprietary apps and programs without the need for servers or special testing environments.

Salesforce has been in the PaaS market for over a decade and is the leader in enterprise PaaS. The Salesforce Platform gives companies the power to build apps and services with Heroku Enterprise, Private Spaces, Salesforce Lightning, and Trailhead. The platform’s versatility allows developers to write code in the language of their choice, and it integrates with other cloud computing products that use customer data, which allows companies to track an app’s performance.



Infrastructure as a Service (IaaS) provides companies with access to servers, firewalls, virtual machines, storage, and other infrastructure. It’s ideal for companies that create highly specialized or unique proprietary applications, but don’t want to spend time or other resources buying, storing, setting up, or maintaining the necessary equipment. Instead, they access ready-to-use infrastructure over the internet.

Which Cloud Is Right for You?

What makes this technology work is that it can take many forms, and your cloud strategy depends on your end goals. Your cloud infrastructure can be organized in several ways

Public Cloud

This is a cloud that services many different companies (often in the hundreds or thousands) from the same server or infrastructure. A public cloud maintains privacy and separation for each organization it services. Settings are generalized and useful to a variety of organizations, from small- to enterprise-size businesses, academic institutions, or government offices. As with most cloud computing options, the cloud provider handles all maintenance, security, flexibility, and scalability for each organization. In Canada, Salesforce is live on Amazon Web Services Cloud Infrastructure, which means customers in Canada can access the Salesforce Intelligent Customer Success Platform on AWS Canada (Central) Region.

Private Cloud

Conversely, private clouds serve a single organization. These clouds are more common among larger or enterprise-level organizations because the businesses that use them typically service and maintain them in-house; the organization’s own IT team procures and sets up the necessary equipment, parses out computing resources, and keeps up with security and software updates.

Community Cloud

While smaller organizations may not have the resources to maintain their own private cloud, many still require something similar. For these organizations, community clouds are a great option. In this system, companies with similar needs, such as hospitals and medical insurance companies, use the same cloud so more specialized settings and requirements can be incorporated.

Hybrid Clouds

These are composed of two or more different cloud structures. In a hybrid system, each remains a unique entity and standardized or proprietary technology allows them to consolidate their resources (for load balancing or cloud bursting, for example).

9 Key Benefits of Cloud Computing

The benefits of cloud computing are changing the landscape of business. In a world where customers demand personalized marketing and instant and impeccable service, it’s fast becoming not just the best way to drive successful and innovative businesses, but the only way.

Here are cloud computing’s key benefits:

With cloud computing, time investments for getting the system up and running are minimal. There is no equipment to set up and there’s no equipment to maintain. Cloud providers handle the maintenance of physical components, as well as security and software updates.
One of the most time-consuming bottlenecks in business today is getting data into the hands of team members who need it right now. With cloud computing, every person in your company has access from devices they already use, anywhere they need it. Your team is up to speed at all times, which ensures faster collaboration.
There’s no hardware or equipment to buy, no software to install, and no licensing fees.
Cloud computing providers offer redundant storage (generally in multiple data centers), bolstered security, and faster recovery.
You only pay for what you need. Add tools and resources for a growing team or scale back when you need to.
Align company objectives using messaging resources across your various business platforms.
While time savings boost productivity, and by extension your bottom line, cloud computing has financial benefits that are more direct.
With cloud computing, security is handled by your provider both online and physically at their data centres. At Salesforce, customer security is the foundation of customer success, so the company continues to implement the best possible practices and technologies in this area. Salesforce partners with our customers to provide safety recommendations on the best approaches to deal with security issues and to collaborate in combating these challenges.
Cloud computing providers offer redundant storage options that greatly reduce your risk of loss. All data and services are stored on multiple servers. If one server has an issue, a redundant server immediately takes over so your website or IT infrastructure sees no downtime.
The power of cloud computing is amplified when paired with mobile technology. Because there’s no physical equipment or software to install, you can sign in and work from any computer, anywhere. With apps, you can access important files from mobile devices, so wherever you go, higher productivity follows.

Cloud Computing Lets Companies Focus on Their Customers

With all the advantages of cloud computing, there’s one that stands out most: It gives companies the freedom to focus on their customers. When everyone in your company is on the same page, your customers’ needs are met faster.

For example, after partnering with Salesforce, G Adventures changed the game in the group travel industry. They started their groundbreaking 100% Guaranteed Departures initiative and moved to cloud-based technology to ensure every employee can work together to create long-term relationships with their customers. Backed by Sales Cloud, Service Cloud, Salesforce Platform, and Salesforce Chatter, G Adventures has grown as a company while paying attention to what matters: their customers.


How to Get Started

Moving your business operations to the cloud is an investment that pays off. From the award-winning Sales Cloud, the world’s number one customer relationship management (CRM) platform, to the powerful Salesforce Platform, the suite of SaaS and PaaS offerings from Salesforce uses the power of the cloud to advance your company.

Questions? We’ll put you on the right path.

Ask about Salesforce products, pricing, implementation, or anything else. Our highly trained reps are standing by, ready to help.