What Are Cloud-Based Applications?

6min read



For a growth-minded organization, cloud-based applications enhance the user experience, improve scalability, reduce application development costs, and streamline operations.

In this guide, we’ll explain cloud-based applications, draw distinctions between them and desktop apps, and provide some cloud-based application examples so you can better assess the potential benefits of these technologies.

How do cloud-based applications work?

Cloud-based applications are technological solutions that users primarily access via the internet. Some portion of the application is managed by a server rather than the user’s machine.

A traditional desktop application stores and manages all data locally, consuming resources on the device running it. Conversely, in a cloud-based application, data is stored with a cloud service, and remotely accessed computing resources power the app’s underlying processes.

Since cloud apps don’t permanently reside on the user’s device, they can be responsive, dynamic, and robust without weighing down on-site devices.

Cloud applications allow you to access and update data from anywhere while minimizing the storage consumption on your device. As such, they’re a much more versatile technology than traditional on-premises or desktop apps.

Cloud-based apps continue to function when your internet connection is interrupted, temporarily storing data on your device. As soon as the app goes back online, it will make updates on the cloud and delete the locally cached data.

Top 5 types of cloud applications

There are many different types of cloud computing applications. Here are a few of the most common:

1. Data storage and backup applications

Cloud storage and backup applications are popular among both businesses and individual users. 

For the individual, these SaaS or PaaS options provide a means of protecting important files, whether they’re work documents or family photos. Meanwhile, businesses leverage these cloud apps to store and access data across multiple devices, enabling collaboration among their teams.

Some examples of data storage and backup applications include:

  • Google G Suite
  • Dropbox
  • Amazon Drive

When selecting a data storage solution, your organization should prioritize usability and scalability. 

2. Business applications

Innovation in the business application ecosystem has exploded over the last decade. This category of cloud-based apps includes both industry-specific solutions and broader technologies that can meet the needs of a wide array of businesses.

Leading scalable business applications include:

  • Salesforce
  • MailChimp
  • Trello

You’ll need to consider factors such as price point, features, and integrations to find the right business app for your organization.

3. Testing and development applications

Modern testing and development solutions streamline the production process for new software. These technologies accelerate product development and enable businesses to get products on the market sooner.

Examples of testing and development apps include:

  • Sofy
  • Appium
  • BrowserStack

Whether your organization specializes in developing applications or you simply want your own branded app, these solutions are a great addition to your tech stack. 

4. Big data analysis applications

Like most organizations, your business likely collects more data now than ever before. Big data analysis applications give you the tools to put that data to use and obtain actionable insights from the information you gather.

A few of the leading big data analysis solutions include:

  • Microsoft Power BI
  • CRM Analytics
  • SAP Analytics Cloud

There are also smaller-scale data analytics solutions available for growing businesses. To find the right service provider for your company, do plenty of research, weigh the benefits of each prospective option, and ensure the platform integrates with your existing tech stack. 

5. Management applications

Management tools and apps are designed for executives and mid-level managers. This category includes project management apps, time-tracking solutions, and record-keeping tools.

A few top options include:

  • Evernote
  • Asana
  • GoToMeeting

Along with these options, various industry-specific management applications exist for sectors like manufacturing, retail, and more. 

6 benefits of cloud-based applications

The following are some of the primary benefits of cloud-based applications:

1. Better responsiveness

Cloud applications can be developed, tested, deployed, and updated far more efficiently than desktop apps. As a result, they promote improved business responsiveness and allow your organization to quickly adapt to shifting operational needs.

With the enhanced flexibility provided by cloud-based computing services, you can stay ahead of the latest trends, get to market faster, and maintain an edge over your competitors.

2. Simplified operation

When you rely on desktop applications, you may struggle to outsource infrastructure management responsibilities. Consequently, the maintenance of your app will fall to your internal team.

Alternatively, cloud-based apps are managed by third-party providers, meaning your team will face a reduced workload and be free to focus on other critical tasks. 

3. Superior scalability

With cloud-based apps, you can instantly access additional computing and storage resources as user demand fluctuates. This attribute makes cloud applications the ideal choice for rapidly growing businesses. 

4. API compatibility

Cloud-based applications pair with application programming interfaces, which allow the app to exchange information with other software. You can use your API connections to facilitate analytics processes, promote data sharing, and access critical back-end services. 

5. Reduced costs

Storing data on the cloud is far more affordable than an on-premises storage solution. But that’s just one of the ways cloud-based applications save you money. Cloud apps are also less costly to operate and maintain than their on-premises counterparts. 

6. Improved security 

Leading cloud providers offer world-class cybersecurity support, delivering enterprise-grade security resources without the exorbitant price tag. Depending on the provider you partner with, they may also supply data backup services that let you recover your mission-critical data in case of a breach or accidental deletion.

Cloud applications versus web applications

Cloud and web applications are relatively similar, as both platforms remotely access data and store information on cloud-based servers. However, there’s one notable difference between the two: architecture.

A cloud application performs processing tasks on the local workstation and only uses the internet to download or upload data. This feature allows it to function with or without an internet connection.

By contrast, a web application needs a continuous internet connection to operate. That’s because it exclusively performs processing tasks via the internet, not on the local workstation.

Cloud applications versus desktop applications 

Desktop applications are far less versatile than cloud apps. They require a separate version for each device and operating system combination, increasing the cost and time of development.

Additionally, desktop applications must be manually installed on a device. When the developer releases an upgrade, users must update their devices independently. As a result, developers cannot ensure all users are running the latest version of their desktop app.

Cloud applications are platform-independent, meaning they’re accessible through various operating systems and devices. This capability significantly reduces development costs and simplifies the process of publishing and installing updates.

Connect with Orderful to take advantage of cloud-based apps

Want to learn more about cloud-based business applications and their benefits? If so, connect with the Orderful team.

Orderful provides electronic data interchange solutions that help you derive optimal value from your cloud-based applications. With our technology at your disposal, you can expedite the distribution of information, streamline transactions, and automate document exchange processes.

Schedule a demo or speak to an expert today to unlock the power of EDI integration.


Go live with new trading partners in days, not months. Orderful’s modern EDI platform standardizes integrations and streamlines testing, getting your business connected with partners 10x faster than other solutions.

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