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Cloud glossary for organizations – the terms you need to know

Take a look at the key concepts and terms for cloud services to help you succeed in the cloud.

Tietoevry at your service / May 27, 2021

Private cloud? Public cloud? Hybrid cloud? What do these terms mean in practice and what are their main differences? Perhaps more importantly, what do they mean for your business? What kind of cloud strategy is suitable for companies? And what role do edge computing and cloud infrastructure play in cloud services?

What different cloud solutions and cloud technologies have in common is that when properly implemented and utilized they can yield significant business benefits through increased organizational efficiency and agility. Cloud is never just about the newest technology. Cloud is an operating model for developing an organization’s speed, efficiency, and innovation capabilities.

Grasp the most important perspectives and terms for cloud solutions from this cloud glossary and become better at identifying the opportunities and benefits of the cloud for your organization!

List of terms we will cover:

What is the Cloud?

Cloud means an IT resource where an organization’s applications reside on a scalable cloud server instead of physical servers.

Cloud services are often classified by the terms SaaS (Software as a Service), PaaS (Platform as a Service) and IaaS (Infrastructure as a Service), referring to the particular service model in which an organization uses a cloud service. For organizations, cloud service also means that instead of owning the cloud infrastructure and data centers, they are leased from the cloud service provider and the cost is determined by usage.

A functioning cloud is always based on an organization's business needs and goals. The purpose of the cloud is to increase the agility and innovation capacity of an organization, while bringing the latest technologies.

A well-functioning cloud brings unbeatable benefits such as scalability according to need and use, which creates cost-effectiveness and wide usability. Increasing automation and ease of maintenance in turn increase operational efficiency. Robust data security is another essential cloud benefit.

Discover our cloud services

Check out the blog: Cloud transformation is a trip you don’t want to miss

Cloud computing

Cloud computing means generally providing different services through the Internet. These cloud computing services include tools, apps, data storage, servers and software. Instead of having these on physical servers, in cloud computing, they are located on and accessed from cloud storage.

Benefits & advantages of cloud computing

Cloud computing and cloud services offer numerous benefits for organizations, including the following:

  • Increased operational efficiency and excellence through automation and easy maintenance.
  • Enhanced innovation capabilities through improved agility and speed.
  • Cost savings that come with pay-as-you-use scalability and improved efficiency.
  • Robust data security with the latest security tools.
  • Increase organizational agility to become more responsive to market shifts, changes in consumer behaviour and other patterns, thus enabling them to adapt more quickly by developing faster digital products.

Check out the blog: Cloud computing powers the data economy – of course, but how?

Service models of Cloud computing

Cloud services are often classified by the terms SaaS (Software as a Service), PaaS (Platform as a Service) and IaaS (Infrastructure as a Service), to name a few critical examples. These refer to the service model in which an organization uses a cloud service. Check out these terms and more in detail below!


Software as a Service (SaaS) is a software licensing and distribution model through which a cloud provider hosts and manages software applications for its users. SaaS is also known as “on-demand software”, and typical SaaS applications are web applications that are available over the Internet, with functions such as invoicing, customer relationship management (CRM) and service desk management.

Because these software applications are accessed via web browser, the users never need to think about set-up, updates or maintenance. The cloud provider manages the application and the users pay a subscription fee to gain access.

Read more about our application services


Platform as a Service (PaaS) is a service model that allows its users to run and manage applications without having to build and maintain the infrastructure associated with that process. PaaS is suitable for developers and programmers as it enables high-level programming with reduced complexity. The users manage the applications and services, and the cloud provider manages everything else, typically via a pay-as-you-go model.


Application Platform as a Service (aPaaS) is sometimes used interchangeably with PaaS, but it can be seen as a subcategory that includes only the services required for application development.


Infrastructure as a Service (IaaS) is a form of cloud computing in which the cloud provider manages the infrastructure (meaning servers, compute, network and storage resources) for users. The infrastructure is delivered over the Internet and accessed through an API or dashboard. While the cloud provider manages the infrastructure, the users are responsible for purchasing and managing their own operating systems, middleware and applications. IaaS enables users to scale resources up and down with demand via a pay-as-you-go model. This allows user to avoid high expenditures associated with buying and managing infrastructure, along with the burden of owning unnecessary infrastructure during fluctuating workloads.

Read more about our infrastructure services

Types of Cloud

There are 4 main types of cloud computing: private cloud, public cloud, hybrid cloud, and multi-clouds. To get the best value out of a cloud solution, it is necessary to evaluate the effectiveness of current solutions, identify the business objectives these solutions are failing to meet and evaluate those results to define a cloud solution that best suits your organization and its goals.

Private Cloud

Cloud computing dedicated for (use by) only one business or organization, has a secure private network and is not accessible to outsiders. Thus, private clouds are often used by financial institutions, government and any other mid- to large-sized organization with business-critical operations seeking enhanced control over their environment.

Learn how Visma Public moved from physical servers and fixed costs to a scalable private cloud solution

Public cloud

IT services are maintained and hosted by an external provider, delivered digitally and shared across organizations as part of a public cloud. Some key examples include Microsoft Azure, Amazon Web Services (AWS) and Google Cloud. Public cloud offers vast choices in terms of solutions and computing resources to address the growing needs of organizations of all sizes and verticals.

Strong demand for public cloud according to ISG report

Read more in the blog: How to adopt cloud services, securely

Hybrid Cloud

The type of cloud computing that uses both public and private clouds is referred to as hybrid cloud. In highly regulated industries, data residency requirements may necessitate that certain sets of data be kept on-premises, while other workloads can be located in in the public cloud.

Check out the blog: Hybrid cloud benefits – how to unleash them?

Hybrid Cloud is becoming the new normal according to ISG report


A cloud approach utilizing more than two cloud services, from more than one cloud vendor, including public or private clouds across several cloud-hosting environments, is known as multicloud. Having multiple clouds is becoming more common across enterprises that seek to improve security and performance through an expanded portfolio of environments.

Read more in the blog: Multicloud is becoming the digital backbone

Sovereign cloud

A sovereign cloud ensures all data including metadata stays on sovereign soil and prevents foreign access to data under all circumstances. It provides a trusted environment for storing and processing data that can never be transferred across borders and must remain under one jurisdiction. 

Why sovereign cloud is a hot topic – 5 tips, and the background

Cloud migration

Cloud migration refers to migrating, or moving, applications, data and other possible elements to cloud environments. Organizations have various types of cloud migration types to choose from. But cloud migration is never just about moving data from on-site servers to the cloud. It is essential to evaluate an organization’s own IT landscape for migration readiness in order to make the right cloud platform choices, with support for business cases, IT architecture and operating models.

Read more about our Cloud design and Migration service

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