Cloud technology has become a staple solution for many IT departments worldwide. Companies are rapidly adopting cloud computing services to improve productivity and reduce complexity. For those that haven't yet made the leap, or have had their heads in the clouds, there are five basic things that everyone should know, according to a recent Forbes article.

The options
While there are a variety of options in the cloud computing world, two of them are the most popular and commonly used services – infrastructure as a service and software as a service. In SaaS, a cloud service provider hosts businesses' applications and any company data within its servers and storage systems. Users of this option typically gain entry to SaaS applications using Web browsers, and organizations pay a monthly fee for each user. Service providers that deploy IaaS solutions essentially deliver to users the necessary hardware to run IT operations on including virtual machines, physical servers and storage, switching and connectivity resources on a pay-as-you-go pricing model. The organization utilizing IaaS is responsible for installing and maintaining the applications and operating system, whereas the service provider manages the infrastructure hardware that applications run on.

Benefits of cloud computing services
Cloud services make life easier for companies and their IT departments by offering cost-effective and flexible solutions. Since today's business environment is fluid and constantly changing with the emergence of new technology, the cloud lets organizations match capacities with their current needs. Additionally, the majority of service providers price their services by month or by the amount of consumption, which is highly beneficial to industries where business cycles experience busy and slow periods. By matching capacity with company demands, decision makers are able to closely align IT spending with their current needs.

Preventing budgets from busting
The rise of big data and the proliferation of information from mobile devices are clogging up data center storage capacities, which require enterprises to invest in new data centers or expand their current ones. By deploying cloud solutions, businesses are able to move their applications and data to a service provider's infrastructure without breaking the budget.

Upgrading outdated infrastructure
As new technologies emerge, companies are constantly looking for ways to adopt and accommodate them. Through cloud computing, IT departments are able to virtualize their mission-critical applications, which require robust servers that are able to support that functionality without investing in completely new hardware.

An easier life for IT
IT professionals are consistently bogged down by the daily demands of maintaining and managing equipment. Cloud solutions that offer infrastructure or managed services allow routine tasks to be redistributed or completed more efficiently, providing IT staff with extra time to focus on more vital business objectives.