In broad terms, cloud computing can be divided into three different classifications - Software-as-a-Service (SaaS), Platform-as-a-Service (PaaS) and Infrastructure-as-a-Service (IaaS).
According to Business Link, SaaS is the most common form of cloud computing - where companies and organisations gain access to software solutions over the internet.
The cloud computing provider hosts the software on its own servers and allows customers to run applications through their web browsers.
SaaS users can save, retrieve or share files that are stored 'outside' their business, breaking the link between program ownership and use
"Services such as web-based email, office software, customer relationship management systems or tools that support collaborative working are all examples of SaaS," Business Link noted.
"SaaS provides greater flexibility, allowing you to scale your IT requirements quickly and easily to meet the changing needs of your business."
IaaS enables businesses to use virtual hardware resources to build their IT infrastructure.
This includes server space, data storage facilities or networking hardware, Business Link stated.
Companies are able to increase hardware capacity as required, should they need additional bandwidth or storage space.
Last but not least, PaaS involves using online application development capabilities to build and adapt applications to suit specific needs.
Using PaaS, business can access the software development tools and hardware needed to do this through their cloud computing provider over the web.
Here's a free trial of Office 365 to get you started.
We, at Microsoft, are happy to announce ‘Talking Business’ to help entrepreneurs and business owners’ succeed. We believe in your ability to innovate and in the ability of technology to help, so to support ‘Talking Business’ we have many resources available for businesses like you. We have an informative newsletter, blog posts by people in the industry, and a community looking to help small business succeed.
Follow us on twitter - @MicrosoftSB, or use the hashtag #TalkingBusiness to find out more information.