Deciphering cloud jargon: cloud computing explained

Posted by: Schepisi - Friday, February 27, 2015

Jargon. Also known as technical language, lingo, gibberish, and vernacular. Whatever you call it, it can be a bit tedious to read about.

The cloud and cloud computing has presented itself as perhaps the most popular technological story in recent times. Business blogs the world over have been keeping up to date with the cloud and its developments, and along with this exponential growth, comes the business jargon that is often hard to decipher.

cloud computing explained

The cloud is huge, and it’s only set to grow: some research has found that the cloud computing market revenue is set to break $20 billion by the end of 2016.

This week, we thought we’d take a look at some of the most prevalent cloud jargon that seems to pop up too often without any further explanation.

So, are you ready? We’ve done the heavy-lifting and gotten our ducks in a row to think outside the box and hammer out a blog post to help keep you in the loop so you can move the needle (Just some of many examples of jargon in the workplace).

IaaS, SaaS and PaaS

IaaS, SaaS and PaaS are the three main forms of cloud computing services. Think of it like a stack or pyramid, with IaaS (“build”) at the bottom, PaaS (“buy”) in the middle, and SaaS (“deploy”) at the top.


IaaS, or Infrastructure as a Service, is the term given when an external or third-part provider hosts computing resources over the internet. Users can purchase IaaS based on consumption, similar to utility billing like electricity. IaaS is the base layer for hardware and software that powers the rest of the pyramid.


Platform as a Service is the point of the cloud infrastructure where applications are deployed. It is the base where applications are run without the hassle or complexity of buying and maintaining not only the software, but the infrastructure underneath it, too.


SaaS, or software as a service, is a service that allows data to be accessed from any device that is connected to the internet. Think of all the social networks and email accounts that you have: you don’t have to be on your home computer to access your personal account, just like you don’t need to be on your work laptop to access work emails.

In a way, these email accounts and social networks are a form of cloud accessibility, because all you need to access them is a log-in and an internet connection.

Essentially, you pay a provider for servers, storage and networking. It’s on demand, and you pay on-the-go, only for what you need. The main benefit here is that you do not need to invest in your own hardware.

On-premise cloud computing

On-premise cloud computing takes all of the technology that runs an off-premise cloud and stores it on-premise. That means the cloud is under the control of your IT department. This is a great way to enhance network security, but not so great if you don't have a big enough IT team or enough funds to readily and consistently manage the cloud and its operations.

This definition is not absolute, as it will often come down to specific features adopted by the client.

Hybrid cloud

In biology, a hybrid is an offspring of two animals or plants of different breeds, varieties or species. With that trip back to high school, it should come as no surprise that a hybrid cloud is an environment where an organisation provides some resources in-house, and others are provided externally.

It all comes down to business needs. Perhaps you pay to use an external service from some data, but keep some data internal, where it is maintained in-house. A hybrid cloud is also referred to as hybrid IT.

Hybrid clouds can be implemented in a few ways, including instances where two separate cloud providers provide specific services as an integrated service, or where a company integrates its own IT team’s cloud management with a cloud provider’s services.

BYOC (Bring Your Own Cloud)

It started off with BYOD (Bring Your Own Device) then it evolved into BYOC - Bring Your Own Cloud. Much like the general idea of BYOD where employees are encouraged to bring and use their personal devices in the workplace, BYOC is a trend that encourages employees to use the cloud provider of their choice.

While cost-effective for small businesses, it can pose security issues for larger businesses who may not know where employees are storing company data.

Again, similarly to BYOD, BYOC needs to be governed by a strict policy detailing what employees can and cannot do.

Alternatively, you can choose a management team who can oversee and govern the entire cloud process, from creating your strategy, deploying apps, and maintaining the ongoing process. Find out more about cloud benefits and organise your cloud consultation today.

Cloud (the metaphor)

Why cloud? There’s no definitive answer, but many agree that the concept or notion of the term ‘cloud’ was derived from old diagrams of telephone networks and later to depict the internet in diagrams of computer networks. The first use of the term “cloud computing” is attributed to professor Ramnath Chellappa in a 1997 lecture.

Additionally, clouds (the ones in the sky) are opaque and you can’t physically see what’s inside them, so with this metaphor, you can start to see the similarities in the imagery of an actual cloud and the notion of cloud computing.

So there you have it. A quick-reference guide to some popular cloud terms that may have left you scratching you head. Hope that’s cleared the fog!

Want to talk some more, or organise a cloud consultation? Contact Schepisi today.