Cloud services are any services delivered to users over the Internet from the cloud provider’s servers or datacenter, rather than local or on-premises infrastructure. Email is one example of a service or application now commonly delivered and used as a cloud service. Cloud services encompass a vast range of capabilities, including all kinds of software applications, infrastructure (including compute, networking, and storage), development platforms, desktop computing, data backup and storage, security tools, and more. Cloud services are accessed not only from traditional endpoints, such as a laptop or smartphone, but also from a growing number of other connected devices.
Cloud services enable individuals and organizations to get what they need quickly, often in a more flexible and cost-effective manner than alternative methods. For example, a company can provision new infrastructure in a matter of minutes with a cloud service provider, instead of having to buy, set up, manage, and secure their own physical servers and other equipment. Similarly, a person can access powerful software tools without needing to know how to install or update those applications—often at a lower cost. Cloud services also enable users to access those services just about any time, anywhere, and from a variety of different devices.