Cloud computing is a new internet based technology, bringing people and businesses of all sizes closer to globalization. New companies considering joining the Cloud revolution must be aware of the benefits they will achieve by moving on to cloud computing and also the disadvantages and risks that stem from it. This paper looks at advantages and disadvantages of cloud computing by analyzing views from various sources, and will concluding what companies should look at when moving to cloud computing.
Exploring the positives and negatives of working in the "Cloud".
If the word Computing is defined as any goal-oriented activity requiring, benefiting from, or creating computers, one can conclude that computing includes designing and building hardware and software systems for a wide range of purposes; processing, structuring, and managing various kinds of information; doing scientific studies using computers; making computer systems behave intelligently; creating and using communications and entertainment media; finding and gathering information relevant to any particular purpose, and so on. But in the ever changing and always competitive business world, people need to start thinking outside the box.
To grow a business on a global scale, one must be as productive and efficient as possible, and to do this they need to be running from an updated information system. According to Kroenke (2007), an information system (IS) can be defined as a group of hardware, software, data, procedure, and people components that interact to produce information. As with anything there are obstacles to overcome, and without being able to see into the future with a crystal ball it can seem impossible to know which direction the technology world will go, and where to invest your resources. This is where cloud computing comes in. With lower investment, training, planning and hardware requirements, businesses seem to obtain a vast benefit of cloud computing. But the question that rises within is whether the risk outweighs the benefits and does it harm the quality of the business.
Cloud computing is still a hot topic that circle in debate. According to David Kroenke (2012), cloud computing is the elastic leasing of pooled computer resources over the Internet. It is a new technology, which provides advantages and disadvantages for any sector that use it, like all other technologies. There are many cloud service providers available to select from, which gives different types of facilities with their clouds. Google and Amazon are two of the cloud facility providers who have unique facilities to their own clouds.
Benefits of Cloud Computing
As a new technology that is growing, businesses have taken a wide interest in this technology. Business owners have found that the functions in cloud computing can bring many benefits to their businesses. Moving to the cloud can reduce the cost for smaller businesses which are trying to move to higher end computer-based business areas. High end computers such as expensive servers and software cost can be avoided, therefore saving a significant amount of expenses. They won’t have to buy separate servers or separate licensed software as cloud technology has all these functions provided.
As another benefit, the development in the direction of cloud computing is also being pushed for by the need for companies to support cooperation, decision making and emphasis on main abilities, while conveying services to external vendors. Consequently, the cloud is becoming a reason to change the way that IT services are being sourced and delivered. Analysts have referred to this situation as the third technology wave after distributed computing, and Internet (White, D. 2011). This unveils some more benefits of using cloud, such as scalability and availability. Scalability provides the capability to develop functions largely within the cloud. But Scalability must not be mixed with reliability because even a scalable application can become unavailable.
Risks of Cloud Computing
Overall, in the areas of scalability and availability, cloud computing is receiving good comments, however, businesses need to ensure the capability and the availability of resources of the vendor to provide and support scalable operations, or the capability to assist a large number of users without any interruption. In the first look, it may seem scalability automatically guarantees availability but that is not true always (Macvittie, 2009). Businesses must always be cautious of blackouts or interruptions as it can potentially stop a company dead in the water.
Gartner, a computer analyst firm, says that cloud computing has “unique attributes that require risk assessment in areas such as data integrity, recovery, privacy and an evaluations of legal issues in areas such as, e-discovery, regulatory compliance, and auditing (Brodkin, 2008).” Also Gartner warns that detecting illegal and inappropriate activities may be impossible within cloud computing. This unveils another possible risk factor which is regulatory compliance. As cloud computing enables companies to take their businesses out of the country and into global markets. This raises the question of risk of security involved within globalization and also how businesses will defend their intellectual property rights. From the underlying technology, the user will not see where physical data lies, and it is possible that the data will not be stored in any one place and could be spread across the network (Jones, P. et al. 2011). Rights of businesses change with the cloud usage which increase flexibility as well as risks.
Cloud computing in business is unpredictable despite steady growth and high popularity. To identify the benefits compared to risks, companies will have to use the information through the system assessment they are conducting on. As benefits that are visible from custom applications, scalability and increased cooperation will lead companies to take a step ahead to consider cloud computing. Running a large IT department and upgrading both hardware and software will cost more, therefore companies from small to large sized will force to look in to cloud computing. But as everything else it has disadvantages. A major one is the topic of risks. Companies will have to be more careful when analyzing those risks. Furthermore, Internet dependency and availability risks are involved with cloud computing. Therefore, heading to cloud computing can be interesting but companies should consider lot of areas before they make a move to cloud computing.
Cloud computing is quickly becoming something that organizations and businesses need to start making plans to get on board with or else get left behind. As the economic and social motivation for cloud computing is high, businesses which are heavily computer resource dependent need to take cautionary measures and the right decisions at the right time to avoid ending up with unproductive solutions while migrating to new technologies. Cloud computing is a fascinating realm, that makes it easier to deploy software and increase productivity. In general, the Cloud will act as an accelerator for enterprises, enabling them to innovate and compete within their markets and in new markets most effectively.
Brodkin, J. (2008) Gartner: Seven cloud-computing security risks. Network World, Retrieved from http://www.idi.ntnu.no/emner/tdt60/papers/Cloud_Computing_Security_Risk.pdf
Kroenke, D. (2012) Using MIS. 5th ed. New Jersey: Prentice Hall
Macvittie, L. (2009) Scalability Only One Half the Reliability Equations. Retrieved from http://cloudcomputing.sys-con.com
Jones, P., O’Neal, C. and Pascoe, R. (2011) Cloud Computing-The Revolution in Multi-National Enterprise Networks and Telecommunications Business Models. Retrieved from http://www.tmforum.org/ArticleCloudComputing/8884/home.html
White, D. (2011) Cloud Computing: The Risks, benefits, and Success Factors. Cloud Computing Journal. Retrieved from http://cloudcomputing.sys-con.com