CLOUD COMPUTING 1
Advancement of technology has significantly increased in the last forty years. Indeed, technology has led to improvement of organizational productivity and processes. Murugesan and Gangadharan (2012) assert that information and technology currently has a new function to play in assisting in creation of a more sustainable and greener environment. Cloud computing has been significantly adopted by many businesses. It is a model of computing that is relatively new compared to other technological models and advancements. This report discusses cloud computing as a contemporary information technology application. It include definitions of cloud computing, origins of cloud computing, issues of cloud computing and future trends of cloud computing. Briefly, importance of cloud computing and how it can be used in reducing problems facing business organizations are discussed.
Definitions of Cloud Computing
Since cloud computing emerged, many academicians have attempted to define it. Today, universally accepted definition of cloud computing is non-existent as many scholars have tried to capture its meaning. Choo (2010) defined cloud computing as a virtualized collection of resources that are responsible for permitting users gain access to data as well as applications on a demand-basis in a web-based environment. On the other hand, Scale (2009) defined cloud computing as an act of using and sharing environmental network resources and applications in order to accomplish a work-related task. This is carried out with no concerns about the ownership and management of network applications and resources. Oppenheim (2011) contends that cloud computing is a type of computing that has naturally evolved. In cloud computing, computer resources and data that are used in accomplishing a task are hosted in a place other than a personal computer. As a result, computer resources and all its related data can be accessed anytime, anywhere across the globe.
Origins of Cloud Computing
In recent years, cloud computing has been significantly popular. It emerged as a result of convergence of two main trends in IT; IT efficiency and business agility (Marston et al., 2011). Modern computers are very powerful and cloud technologies can utilized it more efficiently through hardware and software resources that are highly scalable. On the other hand, the need for IT to be a business competitive tool with capabilities of responding to the requirements of users in real-time led to invention of cloud computing. Today, cloud computing can either be deployed as HDFS, Infrastructure-as-a-Service (IaaS) or as platform as a Service (Paas) among others.
Types of Cloud Technologies
Cloud technologies can either be used in public, private, hybrid or community settings. In general, hosting cloud services in a private context is safer. However, it is a costlier option than hosting it in a shared platform (storing data from different clients in one physical machine). This is what is referred to as public cloud computing. In community cloud computing, tenancy can either be shared by different clients or dedicated to one client (Choo, 2010). Furthermore, management of information technology infrastructure is done by a third-party providing cloud technologies or an organization itself. On the other hand, hybrid cloud service can either be a composition of two or more of private, public or community cloud technologies. In this case, proprietary technology bounds them all together but they still remain unique entities. Portability of data is thus enabled.
Issues of Cloud Computing
The numerous benefits that cloud computing offer has made it a current information technology that is increasingly adopted by businesses and individuals. It has solved many problems that organizations have been facing for a long time regarding storage and efficient retrieval of information. However, cloud computing has several issues ranging from processing of data to data transfer both giving rise to concerns about protection of data. Majority of the countries have partial or they completely lack data protection laws (Oppenheim, 2011). This is the major issue that is affecting rapid adoption and acceptance of cloud computing. The manner in which cloud application processes personal data and the locality where this data is held have raised a lot of questions many of which remain unanswered. Data in a cloud computing platform is a subject of data protection laws in that country. In case data is held in a country that has no data protection laws, manipulation, deletion or unauthorized access of data in cloud computing can take place with no action being taken to the entity concern. This is a serious issue as important information such as company secrets, trade secrets and sensitive information that can be accessed by unauthorized party without serious ramifications taken to it.
The successful adoption of cloud computing depends on how secure is the data in the information technology platform. Indeed, data security is among the major issues threatening its wide acceptance and adoption. Often, cloud service providers are involved in fragmentation of data which are then stored in a number of virtual servers. These data are encrypted so they cannot be accessed by unauthorized personnel and for protection purposes. Because of encryption, access to data by clients in real-time may not be possible as a result of computational processing (Hudic,et al., 2013). Cloud computing is also faced with challenges pertaining to confidentiality and privacy. The privacy of a client can be seriously jeopardized if data in cloud computing is leaked. For instance, the strategic mechanisms that a company uses in gaining competitive advantage can be affected by leaking its confidential information to a competitor.
Future Trends of Cloud Computing
Cloud computing is among the main disruptors of digitalization. Although cloud technologies market has reached its maturity levels over the years, the interaction between this technological milestone and increasingly growing data and analytics setting suggests that the future of cloud computing will be characterized by plenty of disruptive opportunities. Cloud computing appears to be the future of information technology. Large organizations are expected to transition their entire infrastructure into the cloud. This is because cloud computing reduces cost and risk. A culture of enhanced security, incubation and creation of market incentives should be encouraged by the government to cloud service providers. This will enable them to carry out integration of security hardware, software, and in the entire life-cycle of system development. By undertaking these functions, the future of cloud computing will be both visible and viable and issues that are bedeviling cloud computing are solved.
Cloud computing provide users with massive benefits. Its full potential can therefore be fully exploited in the future by business entities and individuals. However, vulnerabilities in a cloud computing environment provide a potential chance to criminals and individuals having malicious intentions. Before cloud computing was invented, cyber security has been a thorny issue in information technology industry. It is therefore important for both the public and private sectors to join hands and closely work together in identifying, prioritizing, and providing solutions to current and emerging risks in cloud computing. Furthermore, effective measures that need to be developed and validated require collaboration of both public and private sectors if cloud computing challenges are to be effectively dealt with. Choo(2010) explains that this would involve establishment of a standard that mandates certain minimum requirements in making sure that adequate level of security for exchanging electronic information is achieved.
IT applications and Business Problems
Information technology applications such as cloud technologies provide organizations with different benefits. It also solves some of its problems that can affect their effectiveness in delivering services. Specifically, cloud technologies significantly reduced the time organizations used in investing in information technology operations (Jaeger, 2008). Additionally, the cost of investing in business information technologies applications is reduced since the overhead costs are shifted to provider of cloud service. Cloud computing provides economy of scale especially to small enterprises that may lack both human and financial resources and capabilities to invest in an IT infrastructure. The different settings that cloud technologies offer is suitable to upcoming businesses that are not capable of investing in IT applications on its own. Cloud computing does not disrupt business operations of an organization. In fact, it ensures its continuity and redundancy in case the site of cloud computing host fails (Marston et al., 2011). This is because applications and data storage are hosted externally by an entity providing cloud services. Generally, cloud technologies reduce organization problems such as costs and problems related to rapidly changing technology.
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