Cloud computing, often referred to simply as ‘the cloud’ is the delivery of on-demand computing resources over the internet using a network of remote servers to store, manage and process data. It allows access to a shared pool of computing sources and one of the great benefits is that updates can happen quickly and seamlessly. This allows companies to avoid up front infrastructure costs and get their applications up and running much quicker, and they will require much less maintenance going forward.
Cloud computing is divided into three broad service categories:
infrastructure as a service (IaaS) – this is where providers supply a virtual server, allocated storage, and application program interfaces (APIs) and can configure the system as needed providing for various workload needs.
platform as a service (PaaS) – providers host development tools on their infrastructures and users access those tools over the Internet using Web portals or gateway software.
software as service (SaaS) – a model that delivers software applications over the Internet and these are often called Web services. Microsoft Office 365 is a SaaS offering software and email services. Users can typically access these applications from any location using a computer or mobile device that has Internet access.
Cloud computing has become a highly demanded service due to the advantages of high computing power, cheap cost of services, high performance, scalability, accessibility, and availability.
One application reaping the rewards of cloud computing is software for Electronic Healthcare Records (EHR). This falls under the SaaS model of cloud computing. Competition between cloud providers has the software companies offering increasingly powerful functionality. Use of EHRs in the cloud also help practices to meet Meaningful Use requirements, aid with HIPAA data compliance, help deliver better patient care and have countless other benefits that save practices time and money.