1. Introduction to Cloud Computing Technology
Technology has played a major role in improvising and enhancing the efficiency and effectiveness of business processes to a major extent. One such technological invention that has become an important aspect of most of the businesses is the Cloud Computing (Rittinghouse and Ransome, 2009). Cloud Computing can be defined as a complex computing paradigm, which consists of various systems connected in public or private networks in order to offer scalable and dynamic infrastructure for file storage, data and application. With the evolution of technology of cloud computing, the costs involved in application hosting, computation, delivery and content storage has been decreased significantly (Huth and Cebula, 2011).
Cloud computing involves development of grid computing, distributed computing and parallel computing. From the users’ perspective, cloud computing basically is a pay – per – use facility that has the convenience to access the shared resources via internet anytime and anywhere. There are three different cloud computing models. They are listed as follows:
- Software as a Service (SaaS)
- Platform as a Service (PaaS)
- Infrastructure as a Service (IaaS)
Based on the above cloud computing models, organizations have the feasibility to deploy their applications in Private, Public or Hybrid cloud network (Kumar and Goudar, 2012). Figure – 1 provide the detailed description of cloud models.
2. Project Objectives
- To research and understand the concepts and feasibility of adoption of cloud computing for businesses
- To research on the advantages and disadvantages of using the technology of cloud computing for businesses
3. Project Scope
- The in – depth project research help to identify and analyze the precise advantages and disadvantages of implementing the cloud computing technology for businesses
- Considering pros and cons of the technology, an enterprise can effectively decide on the usage of cloud computing in their business operations and processes
4. Literature Review
4.1 Basics of Cloud Computing Technology
The basic principle on which the cloud computing technology is based is the ‘effective reusability of IT features and capabilities’. Considering the various traditional concepts such as “grid computing”, “autonomic computing”, and “distributed computing”, it is quite clear that the cloud computing technology was introduced to broaden the horizons across various organizational boundaries. A researcher called Forresser, defined cloud computing as the pool of highly scalable, abstracted and managed compute infrastructure that is highly capable of hosting applications at the customer end and is billed by the consumption (Grossman, 2009). Figure – 2 shows the overview of functionality of cloud computing technology.
Cloud Computing has been considered to be one of the major advances in the field of computing. Thus, it is very important for businesses to understand its potential as well as its pros and cons from both the user and provider side. Hence, understanding the information security aspects associated with the technology has become very important. Understanding the challenges and limitations or disadvantages of cloud computing technology helps the businesses to develop strategies for data and information security and ensure high – level of security in their cloud network (Eken, 2014). It has been said that the cloud computing technology is still in the initial stage of development and thus, many researches’ have been focused to understand the technology and the issues related to businesses using cloud computing.
Advantages of Cloud Computing
The advantages of cloud computing from the business perspective can be divided into various categories. Each of the categories is described as follows:
Cloud computing technology is highly flexible. In other words, the infrastructure of cloud computing maps the on – demand to cater the fluctuating loads (scalability), also, the users’ have options to choose private, public or hybrid storage depending on their security requirements and other factors. Businesses have the feasibility to determine the control level with SaaS, PaaS and IaaS and using the pre – built features and tools, users’ can easily develop an effective solution that match their specific requirements. Various security features such as API keys, encryption and virtual private cloud are made available to secure data in a cloud network (Ibm.com, 2017).
On the other hand, it has been considered that the cloud computing technology is very efficient, which means that the data and applications (cloud – based) can be accessed virtually from any device that is connected to internet. Also, this technology helps the users’ to host their applications in market quickly. Data security is given high significance as hardware failures do not affect the data, because of network backups. Organizations can save high amount investment in equipments by using cloud computing technology as it make use of remote resources, thus saving servers and other device costs. The pay structure that is used in technology is of “utility” type, in which the users’ are charged only for the specific resources they use (CentriLogic, 2017).
The cloud computing technology provide strategic value, which means that the CSPs (Cloud Service Providers) effectively manage the infrastructure and enable businesses to emphasize on application development and other preferences. Cloud service providers update the offerings at regular intervals and thus, provide users’ with latest technology. Cloud computing enhances collaboration as global access can help teams to collaborate from different locations (Xue and Xin, 2016).
Deploying new capabilities that are IT – based takes lot of time irrespective of improving the current capability or developing a new one. Developing applications on cloud networks reduces this delay significantly. The technology of cloud computing allow the users’ to submit an application, which is run immediately without a delay. On the other hand, there is lower risk of business innovation in cloud computing technology. Cloud computing help the business users’ to consider and use low cost services in order to understand the value and requirements in a business. Thus, the pricing of cloud platforms is made on “pay – as – you – go” basis, so the users’ are charged only on the resources they use in the network. In case, if there is increased requirement on the business side, the users’ can take up high cost and high usage services from cloud providers (Marston et al., 2010).
Cloud platforms are basically provided by large – scale organizations. Scalability is a major issue faced by businesses and cloud computing technology help the businesses to manage huge amounts of information and data and open up new chances to find business value in the available data. Not only scaling up, but the cloud platforms also help businesses to scale down (Madhavaiah, Bashir and Shafi, 2012).
Budgets involved in Information Technology can be divided into two broad categories, they are – basic IT infrastructure and various business – related applications (such as email services). Every business is focused to reduce the costs involved in basic IT infrastructure and cloud computing technology help the businesses to achieve this in many ways. There is no need of up – front investments in software and servers as the businesses are charged only for the resources they use. Also, cloud computing technology provides the businesses with direct visibility on their respective IT spending. This can greatly help the business to take better decisions on the applications they are paying. Considering the business economics, using cloud platform to run applications can be less expensive than running applications in the in – house data center (Chappel, 2011).
Disadvantages of Cloud Computing
Having understood the advantages of cloud computing technology from business perspective, the next step is to research on the disadvantages of the technology. Data privacy or security is considered to be one of the major challenges or limitations of using cloud computing technology. Following are the disadvantages of using cloud computing in businesses.
The information present on a cloud network is generally crucial to business. The information related to business and customers that is present on a hardware system is moved to cloud network and is thus, prone to various malicious attacks. Understanding the security measures provided by cloud providers becomes a major part of the data management and security in cloud technology (Huth and Cebula, 2011). Businesses must ensure setting up effective and efficient firewalls, data backup and recovery type etc when using cloud technology. Cloud computing makes use of virtual computing technology, and thus the users’ data and information can be easily scattered in several virtual data centers. In this way, users’ can unintentionally leak hidden information when accessing cloud services. Thus, it is quite clear that businesses are always prone to various security – based issues when using cloud computing technology in their operations and processes (Kumar and Goudar, 2012).
Also, just like local servers in business, cloud servers can sometimes experience slowdowns and downtimes and affect the reliability. Cloud computing do not allow business users’ to possess the data storage physically and thus, the data and information storage and its control is managed by cloud providers. Yet another limitation of cloud computing is related to data recovery and its availability. It is already known that all the business applications have SLAs that are to be followed stringently. There are certain crucial verticals in business such as disaster recovery, maintenance and data replication etc and if any of these services are not served appropriately by the cloud service provider, the impact and damage can be very severe (Harris, n.d.).
On the other hand, Government regulations in few European countries do not permit sensitive information and customer’s personal information to be used outside the country or state. In order to cater such requirements, the cloud service providers must run a data center within that country to comply government regulations. Having such infrastructure is not effective and feasible for businesses to run smoothly (Harris, n.d.).
From the business research, it is quite clear that the cloud computing technology provides businesses with various advantages such as reliability, flexibility, reduced cost investments on servers and other IT devices and data accessibility. Businesses can consider their functionalities and requirements and based on these factors, they can take up service offerings from cloud providers. Though, cloud computing has nearly doubled the speed of operations, processes and data management, there are various security – based concerns associated with use of cloud computing technology. It is quite clear that the data and information present in a cloud network is not secure and thus, businesses must ensure implementation of highly advanced firewalls and other security features to secure their crucial data. In the recent times, hackers have come up with several approaches to extract crucial business data and information and were successful. Thus, businesses have to make sure that their data and information are encrypted to a complex – level. Cloud computing is still in the initial development stage and having considered this, researchers are constantly developing various high – level encryption and firewall implementations to secure business data and information and avoid cyber attacks.
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