Cloud Computing Applications: Ways We Use the Cloud

Written by Coursera Staff • Updated on

You could be taking advantage of many cloud computing applications without realising it. This article provides examples of cloud computing application to give you a full picture of its services in our daily lives.

[Featured Image] A bearded programmer wearing glasses and headphones is seated at a desk in his office and using a laptop computer to create cloud computing applications.

Cloud computing is a fast-growing market with consistent advancements throughout India. Gartner predicted end-user spending on cloud services in India would total 7.3 billion USD in 2022 [1]. Initiatives to develop cloud-skilled talent and encourage a cloud infrastructure in India are helping the country continue its momentum in cloud computing.]. 

Given that momentum, it’s essential to answer the question: What is the cloud? This article explores cloud computing applications, their advantages and disadvantages, and shares some examples.

What is cloud computing?

Cloud computing refers to computing services (such as servers, storage, software, databases, networking, and analytics) that users can access over the internet. The government supports cloud computing in India with its MeghRaj and Cloud Vision for India initiatives. The goal is to use cloud computing to access data and services anytime, anywhere. Cloud computing also offers scalability, high availability, and security. The next section looks at the advantages and disadvantages in more detail.

Cloud computing applications' advantages and disadvantages

Cloud computing applications offer many advantages. Yet disadvantages exist too, and it’s also essential to consider them. Discover the advantages and disadvantages below.

Pro: Scalability 

Cloud computing applications allow you to scale without investing in and installing new IT infrastructure. Cloud providers can instantly meet your needs to add users or services. Likewise, if you're going to cut back, you contact the provider and do so until you want to up your services again.

Pro: Cost savings

Along with the benefit of pay-as-you-go scalability, the vendor is the one who invests in the actual hardware needed to support your cloud computing services. This saves you from having to pay for the necessary hardware and software. Plus, a business can count on their cloud partner to maintain, monitor, and secure the cloud application. So, you won’t need to recruit, retain, and compensate added IT staff to support the cloud. 

Pro: Efficiency

Similarly, since you don’t have to install any added technology to expand your cloud infrastructure, you can provide people with cloud computing access more efficiently. Instead of giving people a desktop in the office, you only need to provide access to the cloud. Some people will even prefer to use their portable devices to get to work immediately.

Pro: Mobility

Accessing cloud computing applications requires only an internet-connected device. This lets people access consistent cloud services on all devices, from home desktops to mobile devices like smartphones and tablets. With an increasing number of remote and freelance employees and staff who travel for work, cloud computing applications add convenience and support better work-life balance.

Pro: Security

The cloud service provider’s business model depends on providing security. That means they should have the expertise to identify, protect, and defend against threats, protecting their business and users’ information. Since data is encrypted for transmission and storage in cloud databases, your information could be more secure in the cloud than on-premises. 

Con: Regulatory requirements

Many industries have regulatory standards they must meet. And so, when partnering with a cloud services provider, you will need to find one who knows and abides by those requirements. If the data and workloads are hosted offsite, you must be cautious not to compromise strict privacy laws in another region. 

Con: Reliance on customer service

While it can be advantageous to have someone else monitoring and maintaining the IT infrastructure, it also makes you dependent on their customer service. When you have technical issues or cost concerns, you’ll need to go through the cloud service provider to resolve them.

Con: Vendor lock-in

Once you migrate to the cloud, moving from one provider to another can be challenging if it doesn’t meet your needs. To effectively transition, you may need to reconfigure your cloud environment, which can be time-consuming and frustrate productivity. 

Top cloud computing applications

Essential cloud services include computing and storage, but you can also find more advanced services, such as multi-factor authentication, managed databases, or disaster recovery as a service. Although dozens (if not more) services are available, they fall into one of the three following types of main cloud computing applications:

  • Software-as-a-Service (SaaS): The cloud application you are most likely to know, SaaS providers let you access their cloud-based software and the hardware and infrastructure on which it runs.

  • Infrastructure-as-a-Service (IaaS): The cloud services vendor provides powerful cloud-based servers, networking technology, or data storage. 

  • Platform-as-a-Service (PaaS): PaaS goes beyond IaaS by offering infrastructure and middleware, such as database management and development tools, to provide an operating environment with the necessary infrastructure. Additionally, you can access cloud-based services and resources, making it easy to build, deploy, and manage cloud-based apps. 

How cloud applications affect us daily

With all the different cloud computing applications, you should learn how we rely on the cloud. Here are some of the primary uses of cloud computing applications.

Communication and collaboration

If you’ve ever used Skype or WhatsApp, you have already used cloud computing applications. These are just a few examples of network-based communication and collaboration tools available. With all messages and information stored on the cloud service provider’s hardware, users can access what they need from anywhere via the internet. This allows people to communicate and collaborate online in real-time effectively. For example, India’s Tata Capital uses cloud-based voice assistants, WhatsApp messaging, and chatbots in customer service interactions.

Data analytics

The cloud lets users unify consistent data across teams, divisions, and locations. It helps with collaboration and version control and provides a pool of quality data professionals can use to uncover trends and glean insights. Cloud services like machine learning and artificial intelligence are top applications in today’s data-driven business environment.

File storage

With the increasing amounts of digital information available, more data storage is also necessary, which could be costly for each business. Instead, many will use cloud file storage to enjoy enhanced security and cost efficiency. Transferring encrypted files offsite makes the data accessible to any location and any Internet-connected device, which can support business continuity, too.  


Building a separate backup and disaster recovery environment can be expensive and time-consuming. Yet, with files in the cloud, data backup is more efficient. Instead of recovering physical drives or data storage devices from another location, the user needs only access the cloud from a secure location. With backup as a service, the user’s environment is consistently updated and configured to allow for a smooth recovery if needed. 

Next steps

Cloud computing remains one of India’s fastest-growing technologies, with numerous benefits for personal and professional use. Learn more about cloud computing services on Coursera with courses like IBM’s Introduction to Cloud Computing. You could also go more in-depth with options like Developing Applications with Google Cloud Specialisation.

Article sources

  1. Gartner. “Gartner Forecasts End-User Spending on Public Cloud Services in India to Total $7.3 Billion in 2022,” Accessed May 6, 2024. 

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