Essential characteristics of cloud services
These are part of the National Institute of Standards and Technology’s definition of cloud computing. Public cloud services, like the other types of cloud services, must show these characteristics.
Without any interaction with the cloud service provider’s staff, customers can set up resources — for example, a virtual server or an email account.
Broad network access
Customers can access resources over networks using a widely available client from a range of client devices.
Example of broad network access
Over the internet, a customer accesses resources using a web browser from client devices — such as a smartphone, tablet or laptop.
The service provider has a pool of computing resources, which are used to serve multiple customers.
Virtualisation technologies are often used to:
- support multiple customers using the pool of computing resources
- allow computing resources to be dynamically assigned and reallocated based on customer demand.
Based on demand, the cloud service can quickly set up and release, sometimes automatically, resources.
Customers can easily increase or decrease their use of a cloud service to meet their current needs.
Customers pay only for the resources they actually use within the service.
The provider of cloud services usually sets up a dashboard so customers can track their usage.
More information — Digital.govt.nz
Learn about the different ways to deliver services using cloud, including ownership and responsibility for security controls in each type of service model.
Read about the benefits of the public cloud model for deploying cloud services.
More information — other sources
See the full definition of cloud computing published by the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST).
When explaining the models of shared responsibility for security, the National Cyber Security Centre (NCSC) refers to the NIST definition of cloud computing and its essential characteristics.
The International Organization for Standardization (ISO) has guidance about cloud computing’s:
- overview and vocabulary — ISO/IEC 17788:2014
- reference architecture — ISO/IEC 17789:2014.