Cloud computing is a hot topic in the field of information technology. Starting as early as the 1990s, cloud computing has made its way onto the techno-grid and has expanded into a vision that has captured the attention of both large and small businesses alike. Cloud computing gives access to applications with great speed and innovation, with a hefty reduction to cost, while allowing businesses to see continuum of sales growth. Not everyone is familiar with cloud computing and not everyone can understand it, but it’s here, and it’s only going to get bigger and better.
What is Cloud Computing? Cloud is the latest hype in the IT market, but, in contrary to other hyped initiatives, the cloud is actually happening. (BCS, 2012. p.15). Many people really don’t understand what cloud computing really is. The first you think about is a cloud in the sky, but then where does the computing come in? Well, it’s the ability to use computerized resources, which are provided through the internet. In short you get to do business right from your home, or wherever you are http://synergy.gs/Solutions/CloudServices
and at any time. You can make travel arrangements, purchase movie tickets, download music, watch videos, or even check you bank balance. All this can be done wherever you have access to the internet. “The cloud is simply a metaphor for the internet, based on the symbol (a Cloud) used to represent the worldwide network in computer network diagrams.” (Infraserv, 2011).
History of Cloud Computing Before there was the cloud, suppliers provided services to customers via internet-enabled computers. That was known as Application Service Provision (ASP) and was originally the platform of IT service. The ASP configuration failed, due to the difficulty of installation and configuration. It also only provided software on a one-on-one basis, rather than the one-on-many, which is the basis of cloud computing. The ASP also lacked the greatest asset of all, the capability to adjust per the consumer’s needs. (BCT, 2012.) In the early 1990s, telecommunication companies only offered what is known as “point-to-point data circuits” to customers.
After a few years, they began to offer “virtual private network services. This allowed the telcom companies to provide the same quality of service at a fraction of the cost, as they were able to optimize resource utilization in order to improve the efficiency of their overall bandwidth.” By the late 1990s, some businesses gained “better understanding of cloud computing and its usefulness”, and how it could help them improve, providing service to customers.
The learned just how customers could access applications through the internet’s access to their company; this was by purchasing “service on a cost-effective on-demand basis”. In the early years of the 21st Century, “Salesforce.com brought a new concept to the world’s attention, and Amazon.com proved it could outlast the dot-com bubble burst with the introduction of its web-based retail services in 2002. Amazon realized that the new cloud computing infrastructure model could allow them to use their existing capacity with much greater efficiency.”
By 2006, Google had joined the cloud world, and launched the application of Google Docs services, this offered “document sharing” to all their users, while on the cloud. (Castle, 2012). 3 Forms of Cloud Computing
Being on the cloud allows three types of sharing: public, private, and hybrid. In the public formation, resources are available through “off-site third-part providers”. Customers will usually be billed based on their usage of the offered resources. On the private cloud formation, “also referred to as ‘corporate’ or ‘internal’ Cloud, is a term used to denote a proprietary computing architecture providing hosted services on private networks”. The hybrid cloud is a combination of both public and private formations, so it’s the best of both environments. ((Ferriman, 2011).
Types of Cloud Computing? There are many types of cloud computing, which include: “Software as a Service (Saas), which delivers a single application through the browser to thousands of customers.” With this type of cloud, the customer doesn’t have to pay for any software up front, for servers or licensing of the software. The Saas cloud is used in applications such as Google and Zoho. Then there is the “utility computing,” which is not new, but is used by companies who “offer storage and virtual services that IT can access on demand,” like Amazon and IBM.
“Closely related to SaaS, are the Web services in the cloud, which provide APIs, that enable develops to exploit functionality over the internet, instead of full=blown applications.” “Google Maps, ADP Payroll processing, USPS, and some credit card companies” are a few businesses that offer this type of cloud. Another variation of the Saas cloud, is the PaaS (platform as a service).
It allows customers to “build their own applications that run on the provider’s infrastructure and are delivered to your users via the internet from the servers.” A prime example of this is the new Google App Engine. “One of the oldest types is the MSP (managed service providers) cloud.” It manages the security, “like anti-spam and virus scanning, for emails.” This is used by companies like SecureWorks, Verizon, and most recently Google.
There are also service commerce platforms, which are a type of hybrid clouds, that use hubs for the users to interact. These are commonly used in trading environments, like traveling or secretarial service. Last, but not least are the internet integration clouds. These are still in the early stages of development. The company “OpSource, which mainly concerns itself with serving Saas providers. Recently the OpSource Services Bus was introduced and it employs the in-the-cloud integration technology from a little startup called Boomi.” (Gruman & Knorr, InfoWorld).
Advantages of Cloud Computing There are many advantages when thinking about cloud computing. Using cloud is much cheaper than the traditional way, it’s easy to maintain, or upgrade as needed. It offers unlimited storage, which if you use it to its full capacity, storage in which you can access from anywhere, as long as you have internet connection. You don’t have to worry about backing up any of your files, if your using the cloud it’s being backed up for you and any recovery needed is done through the cloud.
The cloud offers “automatic software integration,” which means when you the consumer customizes your applications, it will be like that until you change it, and will stay that way every time you log back in. Information access is simple, as long as you have internet access and no matter where you are or what time it is, you have access to an infinite amount of information. Setting up any applications is quick and easy; you can be access everything within a matter of minutes.
Disadvantages of Cloud Computing
Now there are downsides to cloud computing, like security and technical issues, not to mention the opportunity to be attacked by hackers. If there are any outages, where your service cloud is located, it can interrupt your activity; not including any other technical glitches. Storing your information on another company’s system will always be in question.
Many organizations have been reluctant to move to cloud computing due to regulatory restrictions that prohibit them from using the cloud for storing sensitive data, or due to concerns about the privacy and security of data in the cloud. Whether they’re lured by its compelling cost savings or its perceived advantages, security leaders are probing the capabilities and restrictions of the cloud. At the same time, security and compliance concerns remain issues holding large enterprises back from capitalizing on the cloud’s benefits.’’ 8 To address these concerns a new class of data security products is appearing.
These new data security products employ data encryption to keep the data secure. Even if unauthorized parties get through the other security measures and get access to the data, it will be to no avail if they can’t read that data. Even if data is copied or stolen, if it is well encrypted, it will be useless unless those stealing the data can also secure a copy of the encryption key that will unlock the data and enable them to read it. There is a new class of encryption-based data security products that puts the enterprise administrator in control of powerful measures to protect an organization’s data. (Hugos, Hulitzky, 2010). Conclusion
The capability and speed offered by Cloud computing allows you to expand your IT access of delivery. You can increase any requirements you need, or you can scale it back, whenever you want. Security is heightened, but you have all flexibility and responsiveness of Cloud based IT services. The removal of wasted time and resources, allows you a great amount of access, to applications and software, with no concern of space. The key is the internet connection, without it, you are cloudless. .
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