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What is cloud computing?

Cloud computing is the collective term for everything ranging from data processing and storage to software available online from third-party server parks.

Characteristic of server parks is that they are built to be dynamically scalable. This means that computing power can be adapted to capacity requirements, with the customer paying only for the services actually used.

Many third-party server parks are located outside Norway. A major challenge for businesses using these services is to ensure that the agreement with the cloud service provider complies with Norwegian law.

Various forms of cloud computing

Cloud computing is normally divided into service models, the three most common of which are:

  • Software as a Service (SaaS), where the customer uses the vendor's application(s) over the internet by means of a cloud network infrastructure. In principle, the customer has no control over the applications, networks, servers, operating systems or storage devices.
  • Platform as a Service (PaaS), where the customer installs applications developed/ purchased by the customer in the vendor's cloud network infrastructure by means of a programming language and tools supported by the vendor. The customer has control over his own applications, but not over networks, servers, operating systems or storage devices.
  • Infrastructure as a Service (IaaS), which applies to the provision of computer infrastructures as a service over the internet. The customer has control of relevant applications, servers, operating systems and storage devices, as well, in some cases, as certain elements of the network (such as firewalls).

Cloud services can be divided into delivery models, such as

  • Public cloud, where the vendor makes cloud computing services available to all customers.
  • Private cloud, where cloud computing services are made available only to those businesses to which they apply. Here, the environment(s) that the cloud services are delivered from will typically be dedicated to the individual customer or a defined group of customers. This arrangement enables a greater level of customisation than is possible in the public cloud model.
  • Hybrid cloud, which can be a combination of the models described above.