Cloud Computing Essay Example

Cloud Computing

Introduction

Information technology industry has had numerous transformations over the past years. Among the developments has been the need to transform computing and use it as a utility. This has made software an attractive service and has shaped the design and purchase of IT hardware (Armbrust et al, 2010). Every IT firm has the desire to make good the developments in the industry. Cloud computing has developed as an attractive concept in the IT industry because of its numerous advantages that include reduced costs of capital expenditure as well as improved efficiency of operation through the services offered (Gillam and O’Loughlin, 2014). SBITS is an IT service provider that seeks to use cloud computing so as to improve its efficiency and increase its income. This report shows the various benefits, risks and risk mitigation measures that are involved when cloud computing is considered by the company. This shall be used in addressing the company needs. It also provides recommendations on the best approach to be used by the company as it considers implementing the technology. The report includes an overview of the models of cloud computing and evaluates the benefits, risks and how the risks can be mitigated. Recommendations are presented at the end of the report and they cover measures to be taken to limit any risks involved with adopting the technology.

SBITS intends to utilize cloud computing so as to achieve its goals which include increasing the efficiency of existing services so as to maintain the customer base. Generation of additional income through development of new high value solutions for its clients is a feat that can be achieved through the use of cloud computing. In addition, the company has a capability maturity rating of 5. This implies that the company has room for improvement on its rating through the use of cloud computing technology (Lamri, 2008). The range of services offered by cloud computing meet the expectations of SBITS. The desire of SBITS is in line with the present age of information technology. According to Sharma et al (2010), various aspects of personal and work life have shifted towards the concept of finding everything available online. The development of cloud computing was intended to web infrastructure is shared so as to handle storage of internet data, computation ad scalability of data. In essence, the technology is a model used to ensure on demand access to a computing resources that have been shared. Infrastructure resources are provided to the client through data storage and internet media using a third party server (Sharma et al, 2010).

The three dimensions of the technology include infrastructure service, platform level service and software level service (Furht, 2010). These three models are presented as services. These include Infrastructuire as a service (IaaS), Platform as a Service (PaaS) and Software as a service (SaaS). IaaS provides storage and computing resources that are used by developers and IT organizations in delivering business solutions. This service model enables the user to manage their applications, their operating system, data, runtime and middleware. On the other hand, the service provider manages the servers, virtualization, storage and networking. This service helps the client in saving expenditure on hardware as well as human capital. It also reduces the risk on return on investment and streamlines and automates the scaling. PaaS provides black box services that can be used by developers in creating applications on top of the infrastructure of the computer. This comprises developer tools that can be offered as services to build other services, or database and data access as well as billing services. The client manages data and applications while the service provider manages every other detail. Finally, in SaaS, the software is hosted by the service provider. This implies that the client does not need to install the software or purchase it. This involves plugging and using the service. This model can be best used in managing customer relationship as a service (Furht, 2010).

This technology has various attributes that form the nature of its operation. These include pay per use model, simple scalable services, and use of software for self provisioning as well as virtualized physical resources. When using the virtual technologies model, the user has the option of accessing storage resources and charging depending on the access to the resources. Platforms used in cloud computing are based on a utility model so as to enhance their performance, reliability, scalability and ability to be configured based on the needs of the client. According to Sharma et al (2010), all of these services are provided at a cost that is low relative to dedicated infrastructures. The cost of using cloud computing services is low because the services are paid as they are used. The model of the technology involves web based subscription where the users pay depending on their needs and usage. The savings in cost are accrued to the fact that users are paying on an hourly, weekly or even monthly basis. The technology has been predicted to leverage on the usage and benefits that have been provided by ERP. Despite the changing technologies in IT, cloud computing has been stated by many experts to have a very bright future in the industry (Sharma et al, 2010). These prospects have been based on the benefits accompanied by the technology.

One of the key benefits of the technology includes reduced costs (Gillam and O’Loughlin, 2014). For a company that intends to increase its income, the cost of operation plays a key part. This is because reduced costs provide a platform for increased profits and subsequently, increased income. Reduced costs include hardware costs, low capital expenditure, and low maintenance, overhead and back up costs as well as low licence costs. In addition, the technology has increased speeds and flexibility. This makes it useful on time savings. The turnaround in implementation of cloud computing is also fast and this lowers administrative time. Many enterprises often underutilize the resources from their main server. Cloud computing ensures that the server is used at an optimum level. The services offered can either be scaled up or down based on their requirements (Kuyoro, Ibikunle and Awodele, 2011). This implies that use of cloud computing ensures an enhanced performance for the client. This bodes well with the requirements of SBITS since one of their main aims is to increase the efficiency of their existing services. It implies that the services currently run shall be utilized better than they have been used before. Sharing of information through the cloud means that there is full documentation of information. This also implies that the information is traceable, at least from an auditor’s view point.

While the technology is very promising, there are challenges faced by it. One of the challenges was stated by Wooley (2011) to be in security and privacy matters. This is owed to the fact that information is shared by many people on the internet. This implies that important company information could be leaked to places where they are not supposed to. Kuyoro, Ibikunle and Awodele (2011) stated that the acceptability of cloud computing was mainly hindered by security concerns. To mitigate the risk and challenge posed by security concerns, developments in the technology make provision for lock down processes where information and confidential data are outsourced to data centres that are secure (Morgan and Conboy, 2011). In addition, clients are advised to select the best cloud type based on their use and its suitability to their uses. Another concern is the costing model. The cost of data is raised in cloud computing. Cloud consumers have to consider the trade off that exists between communication, computation and integration. Despite this concern, the cost of data as compared to the cost of infrastructure is relatively less costly. The charging model of cloud computing is also a concern for most users. This is because of the complication has accompanies this technology. For instance, cost analysis is done based on usage of static computing. However, this concern is mitigated by use of a strategic and viable model of charging and depending on the type of service (Kuyoro, Ibikunle and Awodele, 2011).

Analysis of the benefits of cloud computing has shown that the technology meets the requirements of SBITS. For this technology to be seen to be beneficial to the company, it has to ensure that usage of services offered by the company is optimized through the scalability function of cloud computing. This implies that the server has to be used when it is needed and not over used or underused. In addition, the technology has to provide a platform that shall be shared by clients. This shall be important for SBITS clients because sharing of information is important in improving the synergy between the clients. Evaluation of the technologies performance shall also be based on how fast information can be accessed by clients. Most importantly, client feedback shall be used in assessing how effective the technology has been to them and their needs.

Selection of the best model for use by the company depends on the company needs. This is a process where some tasks are offloaded to the cloud when the resources that are required most for computing are needed. IaaS allows for savings in hardware cost and human capital as well as reducing on the risk of ROI. In addition, the model streamlines and automates scaling of services used. In addition, IaaS has its greatest value in the concept of cloud bursting. The challenge with using IaaS is that the IT departments within the company must have the ability of building and implementing software with the ability to relocate processes to the IaaS cloud. The risk that is involved in using this service is the risk of loss when an IaaS is developed for a specific vender and the vendor goes out of business. Further, organizations should be careful on the state of the cloud computing market place on issues pertaining vendor lock in (Wooley, 2011). Virtual machines that can shift from data centres to the cloud are an asset for business. However, the vendors need to support a file format that is standardized in order to mitigate any risks (Armbrust et al, 2010).

PaaS is beneficial to SBITS because it has the ability to upgrade, change or minimize expenses. It also includes a streamlined version of deployment. Further, the model does not require recruitment of people to ensure maintenance of the system. This model also represents a real benefit of cloud computing by providing the pay as you use service in the scalable processing centre. The company will therefore be able to minimize costs as well as use the service optimally by using the server only when it is needed. This model, however, requires that new security measures are taken so as to mitigate security risks.

SaaS has the benefit of reducing capital expenditure on development resources and software. In addition, the model has lower risks on return on investment. Another benefit of the model is that its updates are streamlined and iterative. This implies that the updates occur in a systematic manner. Additionally, SaaS has the benefit of not requiring any extra licence fees to be paid and new users can be added to eh system easily. SBIT has the goal of expanding its client base. This implies that this model is a great means by which the company can expand its client base. However, the model the challenge of requiring new security measures due to data centralization (Morgan and Conboy, 2011).

Benefits

Less capital expenditure on HR and hardware, low ROI risk, automated scaling

Efficiency dependent on vendor capability; probability of high long term cost

Streamlined version deployment

New security measures for centralization

No capital investment on development resources and software; low ROI risk, iterative and streamlined updates

New security measures for centralization

Source: Varia and Mathew, 2012

Development of new services using the various cloud models provides many opportunities for the growth of SBIT. Use of the IaaS provides a means by which the company can use extra data space based on the needs. This can be achieved by the scaling feat. This implies that when the data space is not needed, the company can save some money and subsequently, increase its income through reduced costs. Most of the services used in this model are outsourced, meaning the company does not invest so much money on capital expenditure. This works within the resources available to the company. The company has dual data centres that are linked by high speed links (10G). This implies that the data space of the company can be saved by using the IaaS model. In addition, the company already has the resources needed to establish this model. These include the virtual machine, servers and storage centres. The only risk involved is the security risk. In fact, this risk spreads to other models since this is the bottom most layer from the three models. The threats and vulnerabilities of this risk have to be handled with more aggressiveness as compared to the conventional environments (Kuyoro and Ibikunle, 2011).

PaaS is essential for SBITS because the company offers software development services. This model enables the company to eliminate costs of hardware up keep. The scalable feature is also available for use. The risk of this model lies in the security challenges, which has to be handled using new security handling measures. To make effective the customer services offered by SBITS, SaaS is the best model for the service. The model allows for expansion of customers and the users can find it easier in compatibility and collaboration since they will use the same software. Further, no extra licensing fee is needed. The challenge of security can be mitigated using extra aggressiveness in handling security (Subashini and Kavitha, 2011).

Recommendations

Before deployment of cloud computing, SBITS should identify the operations for data and processing that will be hosted in the cloud. This includes identification of whether the data is sensitive, personal, and strategic as well as data for business applications. This means that data transferred to the cloud should be specific. In addition, there are legal and security implications for use of the cloud. This requires that a rigorous approach is used defining own technical and legal security requirements. This shall reduce the risks of security. The company should also perform a risk analysis on security so as to identify the right security measures to be used and demanded from the service provider. Before launching the cloud technology, SBITS should identify the specific model that suits its business. Use of the SaaS and IaaS would provide a great fit to the activities conducted by the company. The final consideration by the company is to select a cloud service provider that offers sufficient guarantees. This shall be done by evaluating the gal qualification of the provider and assessing the protection level required for processing of the data. These factors shall enable the company to analyze the best service providers and to mitigate the risks associated with the service models (Badger et al, 2012).

Conclusion

Cloud computing has been predicted to grow and become a very important part of information technology. The technology has many benefits to the client and service provider. While there are risks and challenges associated with investing in the cloud, there are measures that can be taken so as to mitigate these risks. One of the best uses of this technology is through identification of the best model that fits the company’s requirements for cloud technology. Depending on the selected model, the measures to reduce risks should be selected. As shown in the report, selection of the two models of IaaS and SaaS are the best selection for use by SBITS. This is because of the services offered by the company and the benefits that these two models can provide for the company. By and large, the technology provides a platform for the company to achieve its goals.

Works Cited

Armbrustet al (2010).“A view of cloud computing.”Communication of the ACM, 53(4), 50- 58.

Badger et al, 2012. Cloud Computing Synopsis and Recommendations: Recommendations of the National Institute of Standards and Technology. USA: NIST.

Furht, B. (2010). Cloud computing fundamentals.In Handbook of cloud computing (pp. 3- 19).Springer US.

Gillam, L., Li, B & O’Loughlin, J., (2014).Benchmarking Cloud Performance for Service Level Agreement Parameters.International Journal of Cloud Computing, Vol. 3, No. 1, pp. 3–23.

Kuyoro, S., Ibikunle, F. &Awodele, O. (2011).“Cloud Computing Security Issues and Challenges.”International Journal of Computer Networks, Vol. 3(5): 247-255.

Lamri Ltd. (2008). The Compelling Case for CMMI-SVC: CMMI-SVC, ITIL & ISO 20000 Demystified. USA: Lamri Ltd.

Morgan, L. and Conboy, K. (2011).Assimilation of the Cloud: Report on the Benefits and Challenges of Adopting Cloud Technology. Ireland: NUI Galway.

Sharma et al, (2010).“Scope of cloud computing for SMEs in India.”Journal of Computing, Vol 2, Iss. 5, pp. 144-149.

Subashini, S &Kavitha, V. (2011). “A Survey on Security Issues in Service Delivery Models of Cloud Computing.” Journal of Network and Computer Applications.Vol. 34, Iss. 1. pp. 1-16.

Varia, J., & Mathew, S. (2012). Overview of Amazon Web Services. Amazon Web Services. Cloud Computing Insights from 110 Implementation Projects .IBM Academy of Technology Survey.

Wooley, P, S. (2011). Identifying Cloud Computing Security Risks.University of Oregon, pp. 1-88.

Appendix 1

Glossary

SBITS- Small Bank IT Services

IaaS- Infrastructure as a service (cloud computing infrastructure such as storage, servers, operating systems and network are delivered as services based on demand- Sharma et al, 2010)

PaaS- Platform as a Service (computing platform used in creating web applications fast and easily without buying or maintaining the infrastructure and software beneath it- Furht, 2010)

SaaS- Software as a Service (applications are licensed by a provider as services on demand or through subscription- Gillam and O’Loughlin, 2014)

CMMI- Capability Maturity Model Integration – a model of integrated approach for improvement of processes (Lamri Ltd, 2008)

ERP- enterprise resource planning (business management software used to integrate all operational facets including development, sales, planning, manufacturing and marketing- Sharma et al, 2010)

Reflection

Joys: A lot of research on cloud computing has provided an insight to the developments in the technology. Risks associated with the technology have been broadly researched. I feel the research community and world over is very keen on the technology.

Frustrations: a lack of broader definitions of cloud computing, with most articles referring to similar definitions.

Learning: understanding the various models of cloud computing, and finding out that some of the tools I use in the internet are actually types of cloud computing models, like Google and Flickr

Comments: Acceptance of cloud computing has been slow; however, the research on this technology confirms that there is a burning desire to explore the technology soon, with the highlighted issues being the only barriers to this determination.

Synthesis Grid

Explanation of relevant concept

General Benefits

General risks

Risk mitigation

Risk to my clients’ specific goals and circumstances

Page No.s and quotes

Sharma et al, 2010

Cloud computing seen as an online model for providing services

Enhanced reliability, performance, scalability and configuration based on needs

Continuously changing technology,

The need to keep upgrading and use of the new and better technology

Need to have a system that shall be upgradable

“ Industries experts predicts that

cloud Computing has bright future in spite of changing

technology that faces significant challenge,” pp. 144

Morgan and Conboy, 2011

Significant amount of interest from IT and IS industries sparked by the rapid emergence and potential impact that cloud computing has

Time savings, cost reduction, process improvement and increased scalability

Security and privacy issues

Regular meetings done before cloud adoption to enhance data protection and develop procedures for governance

Risk of privacy of information when exposed to the cloud

“ To overcome security and privacy concerns with cloud acceptance, the

Providers explained that they have ‘locked-down

processes’ on data confidentiality and information repositories are outsourced to secure

datacentres.” Pp. 14

Kuyoro and Awodele, 2011

Cloud computing is a way of increasing capacity or capabilities with no need to invest in new infrastructure, or training people, or acquiring a new license.

Increased capacity and reduced cost of capital expenditure

Security issues play a big role in slowed acceptability

Selection of a specific model and setting up security measures based on the model.

Security threat on the selected model.

“ Cloud computing has the potential to become a frontrunner in promoting a secure,

virtual and economically viable IT solution in the future.” Pp. 253

Subashini and Kavitha, 2011

Cloud computing is a fast growing segment in IT industry

Increased capability of current IT facilities

Security of the cloud environment

Cloud service users to be vigilant in understanding the risks

Lack of understanding on the security threat to information

“Security is one of the major issues which reduces the growth of cloud computing and complications with data privacy and data protection continue to plague the market.” Pp. 1

Badger et al, 2012

Cloud computing makes provision for rent access to applications that are fully featured, to deployment environments and to software development.

Broad access to network, on-demand self service and rapid elasticity

Scheduled outages, changes in service agreement and security issues

Users to pay attention to terms and conditions of use and observe the service agreement to get any disclaimers

Changed service agreements affect operation of the client

“ Providers, however, usually reserve the right to

monitor consumer actions in a cloud, and they may even demand a copy of consumer software to

assist in that monitoring” pp. 3-1