In this essay I’m going to talk about the structures, types, uses and some of the most famous service providers of Cloud Computing. . Furthermore I will discuss what I understood about this technology what it actually means and provides. Lastly I will discuss how ethical and technological risks associated with Cloud Computing. The first element I will talk about is the technological advantages and disadvantages for a company using a Cloud Computing. This is an important part in essay.
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Cloud computing is the new trend in IT. It refers to the technology used to access different services over the internet. By using different services through the internet means that the data will be stored on servers, rather than individual drives. Cloud computing allows people to access their files from anywhere, despite of the computer they are using. Cloud computing has made an important impact on the way we store and run applications. It also has made it easier for teams to collaborate, and communicate across the borders. Although it sounds very good, but there are also some disadvantages of cloud computing.
Cloud computing became a viable business model because certain companies like Amazon had assembled enormous amount of servers and resources to handle their customers demands during peak seasons. This entire IT infrastructure wasn’t used efficiently for the rest of the year. Therefore, they decided to rent out their resources to the public. This way the public is able to use computing resources over the internet, any time of the day, and from any place in the world. The third party service provider is responsible for linking the users with the type and amount of IT resources they need, for their document management, and backup storage.
There are three types of cloud computing. The first one is known as infrastructure-as-a-service (IaaS), in which the servers and the software are fully outsourced, and are billed based on the usage of resource. The second type of cloud computing is platform-as-a-service (PaaS), in which the service provider facilitates the use of different applications. The last type of cloud is known as software-as-a-service (SaaS), in which the user doesn’t need to install the software, and can access it over the internet. Famous cloud service providers include Amazon, Google, Zoho, and Salesforce.
There are four types of ways in which a ‘cloud’ can be structured. The first type is the public cloud, in which the services are available through the internet from third party sources. The second type of cloud is the community cloud, in which many organizations realize that they’ve got similar needs and requirements, and hence, should share the infrastructure. An example of a community cloud is Google’s Gov cloud, in which the services are specifically modified for the public sector agencies. The third type of structure is the private cloud, in which the business buys, and maintains the software, so that its employees could centrally store the date, and collaborate efficiently. The last type of structure is the hybrid cloud, in which a combination of public and private clouds is used. The advantage of such a structure is that it makes it easier to archive and back up the data on the public cloud.
There are numerous advantages of cloud computing. Firstly, cloud computing lowers computer costs. As the services are provided over the internet, and there’s no need to install any software, the desktop PC doesn’t need to be powerful processing powers. Along with the hardware requirements, it also reduces software costs. Most of the cloud computing services are free. For example, Google docs can be used for free, instead of paying for the Microsoft Office suite. The software is also up-to-date in cloud computing, and there are no format compatibility issues. Perhaps the biggest advantage of cloud computing is that there is unlimited storage capacity. Users of clouds don’t need to worry about backing up their data, because even if their computer crashes, they will be able to access it again from another computer. Furthermore, cloud computing allows users to access their data from anywhere.
Another advantage of cloud computing is that it makes it easier for groups to collaborate their files. Multiple users can edit a document at the same time, and have discussions over the internet. With cloud computing, organizations can truly run a business without borders. They won’t be restricted to a specific location as all their data is available on the internet. Lastly, cloud computing gives device independence; there is no need to download specific software to view the file, or a specific network to access the files. With cloud computing, the user interface and the software remains the same regardless of the network, or location. (Miller, 2009)
Along with the numerous advantages, there are some disadvantages of cloud computing. Firstly, cloud computing is dependent on the internet. If the internet connection is down, then the whole ‘cloud’ doesn’t work. It requires a constant internet connection; otherwise a user may not be able to access own files. The same is the case with low internet speeds. Furthermore, even if there is a good internet connection, cloud computing may be slow. As the files need to be accessed on the internet, the back and forth communication between the computer and the cloud may be slow to respond because it is busy handling other users. Another disadvantage of cloud computing is that the features that they offer are limited. For example, Zoho Presentations, another cloud service provider, don’t have the same features as of Microsoft’s PowerPoint. Lastly, the data on the cloud is as secure as the cloud itself. What would happen if the cloud crashes? Can other users gain unauthorized access? If the cloud crashes, the data might go missing unless it’s backed up on multiple servers. (Miller, 2009)
As cloud computing is relatively new, and has grown at a significant pace, its ethical and technological implications need to be discussed so as to understand the risks associated with it. Firstly, companies will need to realize that they are sharing their data with another business, which is a huge risk itself. It will be sharing the information of its users with the cloud. Companies will need to define how much access does the cloud have over the data, and has it encrypted so that it is safe from unauthorized access. Furthermore, the security measures should be reviewed before selecting a cloud service provider. To provide assurance to the users, cloud service providers should have a level of transparency in their operations.
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Another issue is of the privacy of the customers. With the data being shared with the third party, it can use the data for all kind of purposes. Along with the security and privacy issues, another concern is the availability and performance of clouds. The cloud community still needs to define the acceptable level of performance of their applications. A third risk with cloud computing is that of integration. If a business chooses a cloud service provider, it should make sure that it can be fully integrated into the business processes for consistency, and efficiency. Furthermore, the business will also need to address the operational challenges that arrive during the IT replacement period.
There is also a bankruptcy risk of the cloud service provider. Once the third party has the data, it can lockout the business and refuse to let it access its files. The biggest risk with cloud computing is that the service provider becomes a partner in the business, which makes it difficult to end the relationship. Businesses and individuals will need to do a background check on the cloud service provider before deciding on him. Another technological risk with cloud computing is that the third party controls the data. For example, Amazon deletes already purchased books from Kindle without the users’ permission. Another example would be that when the user gives a request to delete a file, the cloud service provider doesn’t delete the file. Instead, he keeps the file for his own usage. The only way to deal with these risks is to conduct a background check on the cloud service provider. Furthermore, the security measures of the cloud service provider should be checked.
The growing trend in cloud computing raised a number of issues regarding the best way to use this technology. A document was therefore created called the ‘open cloud manifesto’. The cloud computing manifesto is a document that describes a core set of principles for cloud service providers. It was formed to gather the worldwide cloud community on a single core set of rules, which are flexibility, and freedom of choice. They believe that the open cloud gives users choice, flexibility, speed and agility.
There are four key advantages of cloud computing. Firstly, cloud computing allows organizations to scale their hardware and software on demand. When an organization faces change, computing needs increase significantly. With cloud computing, the organization is able to expand it IT resources to handle peak times. Another feature of cloud computing is that it allows organizations to streamline their data centre by backing up their documents over the internet. Thirdly, cloud computing improves business processes by providing an existing infrastructure. Lastly, the most important key feature of cloud computing is that it reduces start up costs. As all the infrastructure is already in place, no investment is needed to build a data centre to backup your data.
Although cloud computing has many advantages, there are many security and reliability related issues that still need to be answered. As it is still in its initial stages, there is a lot of room for improvement. To increase its usage in the IT industry, cloud service providers will need to address some major issues like security, application interoperability, application and data portability, and governance. They’ll also need to come up with consistent variables so as to monitor and measure the performance of cloud applications. With big companies like HP, Dell, IBM, and Fujitsu reaping the benefits of cloud computing, it seems that in the future more and more data will be stored on clouds rather than on individual drives. Furthermore, many small businesses are also benefiting from cloud computing because of its low cost.
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