Computing is in a constant state of change and innovation. The way that society has used the internet and computing has grown into a global commodity. The internet has opened so many doors for commerce and it is evolving every day. The use for the internet is grown to a state where physical computers and office servers are no longer needed. The use of the internet or “Cloud Computing” is now a viable option for companies to rely completely on the internet for creation, data storage, application, and delivery of computing needs. I will discuss what Cloud Computing is, I will demonstrate the advantages and disadvantages of Cloud Computing, and I will discuss the future of Cloud Computing. What is Cloud Computing?
Cloud, in its simplest definition is another term for the internet. Cloud refers to being able to utilize the information super highway as a means for computing on a versatile application. Millions of companies around the world have always relied on company owned servers taking up physical space to store vital company information, propriety information, payroll information, employees records etc…
With Cloud Computing you have eliminated the need to rely on physical servers. You can release that burden to an entity which will provide the same service but using the internet only. Gartner Inc. says it best “A style of computing where massively scalable IT-enabled capabilities are delivered ‘as a service’ to external customers using internet technologies.” See diagram below
Cloud Computing Power Point
Advantages of Cloud Computing are numerous and exceptional. Many companies currently utilize large rooms and buildings to house a multitude of servers for their company’s needs. With Cloud Computing there is no need to own your own servers or provide the space to house, power, or cool them.
Additionally the normal complement of IT professionals would not be needed to constantly monitor servers to maintain optimal performance. To that end those companies which offer Cloud Computing services also employ the IT professionals to service the servers. These professionals job is to maintain the networks and keep them going to provide the best service available for their customer. The savings on lease space and high wages for IT professionals can be tremendous. Another cost saving measure is removing the need to have servers and desk top PC’s at employee’s desks.
There would still be a need to have a terminal with internet access but these terminals would be smaller and less expensive than traditional PC’s. As Cloud relates to scalability there would never be a reason be concerned with immediate need for growth or storage when business metrics change. Companies who host cloud services would be there with resources on demand for instant growth. Whether you are a longstanding conglomerate or a small business owner Cloud Computing is a reasonable cost effective alternative for meeting the needs of a growing company.
There are some possible setbacks which will be discussed later but, the potential for a positive dynamic is huge. As a self-reliant aspect to an organization the built in safety features would also provide peace of mind for any C- level operator. The built in safeguards of triple or quadruple backup or anti crashing possibilities would be a relief for company relying on constant and on demand use of business computing. The cost metrics could be studied to determine where support is needed but at the end of the day and depending what individual needs are as it relates to specific businesses, the cost saving could vary.
Still in spite of certain cost concerns Cloud Computing advantages are many. On a more domestic note Cloud Computing can offer value from a more personal perspective. As a single parent I am constantly fighting a battle with my schedule. With two kids and a full time job it is hard to be at one place forty hours a week and meet the demand of a family schedule, do laundry, write a paper and review payroll while being away from the office. Having the ability to work remotely is a unbelievable asset not just to me but the employer as well.
Aside from being grateful for an opportunity to work while meeting the everyday needs of a family, personal morale would improve making me a happier employee. An ancillary benefit for the employer is saving money on equipment and even office space. Reducing fixed costs is always a bonus for a company and why not? if it could keep a happy productive employee turning out good product? Working remotely does require discipline but with a motivation of being a single father the upside is tremendous. Not every industry would need to have an option for Cloud Computing, however in certain circumstances it would provide the opportunity for talented people who simply cannot spend an entire forty hours in an office.
To that end meeting a busy schedule of appointments and giving presentations Cloud Computing gives the traveling businessman real time assets previously not available to them. On the go presentations and ordering and logistics just became easier. Gone are the days of “over nighting” modifications of contracts or shipping orders. Just simply log in via remote cloud server make the change and hit save and now the Accountant in Florida, operations in Michigan and manufacturing foreman all received the change instantly.
This type of accessibility can and will change the fabric of industry and commerce. Lastly the one of the best benefits provided by cloud computing is the favorable “Green” contribution it provides. As seen in my power point presentation by reducing the number of computers, servers, power needs, and overall physical space Cloud Computing helps reduce the large carbon footprint that traditional computing leaves.
As Cloud Computing continues to grow more emphasis will be placed its Green Technological advantage it has over traditional computing. All the examples above make for an exciting future for Cloud Computing. We have seen the good Cloud Computing however there is some downside to utilizing this new technological as well. What makes Cloud Computing so successful also contributes towards it problems.
Because of its remote storage capabilities several security concerns arise. Not having complete and access and control to information can be a disconcerting feeling. Leaving security in the hands of others leaves that information open to breaches. 70% of all intellectual breaches are made inside of a company organization.(Kynetix, 2009). When security is controlled by others several questions come up, how would we know if there was a breach? How would we break the news to our customers that our company is good but the Cloud companies security has been compromised? How do we know if there is a problem? How do we know any problems are fixed?
These are very important issues that must be resolved moving forward in order to garner the trust from prospective customers. The need to have access to the internet is an integral part of Cloud Computing. The part which make Cloud services so appealing is also a detriment to the culture. Without access to the internet the PC, tablet or iPad is just useless tool. Documents can sync once an internet connection is established, but without the connection the process grinds to a halt. We all take for granted having large hard drives to store our information.
Gigabytes, Terabytes? How much will we need to store our stuff? Cloud computing helps with that question but we still enjoy the luxury to create photos albums, edit spreadsheets, make changes on our to do lists and all this can be done on our personal computers and usually these items are sync’d ( another form of Cloud computing) each time we connect to the internet. With cloud computing you must have an internet connection in order to view or access any information. Having an office in New York with blazing internet access is great, but if in Bangladesh you may not enjoy the same speed if at all.
I do not believe Cloud Computing will replace the need for owning some sort of computing device, but it will augment that use and prove to be a powerful asset. Cloud Computing relies solely on the access and the performance of the internet. If there is no access then a company can be dead in the water, theoretically speaking. The is a huge dependence and burden to carry for any cloud computing service provider, however like electricity if a grid is down in one place it may not be down in another.
Again, improvements in QC and site diversity will help in this opportunity of growth. One of the final obstacles Cloud Computing must overcome to be a viable option is to become flexible at accommodating existing work applications. It is easy to suggest taking an OS for accounting and managing and simply transferring it to a Cloud system. The variance of speed, versions of software, and even location can be troubling logistical issues. Streamlining this process will increase the chances of Cloud Computing of being a more streamlined viable option. The future of Cloud Computing is very bright.
Many of the advantages I have discussed will overlook the disadvantages and continue to improve. With continued innovation Cloud Computing may change the fabric of computing across the board as it relates to business. Many improvements will be made to make Cloud Computing available to the medical field, the potential uses in the Military field are numerous, and Law enforcement will see many uses as field officers will utilize this type of unprecedented information.
The cost and the “GREEN” benefit of Cloud computing will continue to attract and bigger customers, not to mention allowing more and more Single parents an option to care for their family and do work remotely. As industry and commerce continues to expand the need for instantaneous information will grow and grow. The information superhighway will continue to yield benefits for those capitalizing on this technology. The advantages are plentiful and all are beneficial, the commerce, to companies and to the environment. With added technology and innovation the disadvantages of Cloud Computing will be overcome and continue to improve. The future will show the Cloud computing was an idea tailor made for expanding business and opportunity.
References Bowles, M.B. (2010) Introduction to computer literacy. San Diego, Bridgepoint Education, Inc. https:// content.ashford.edu
Smyth, P (2009) Kynetix Management Guide, Cloud Computing. ELC (2010) ELC Technologies Hinchcliff, D (2009) Enterprise Web 2.0, ZDNet, March 26th www.Zdet.com