In a modern business environment of today, cloud computing systems has turned out to be an integral part of it and is growing in popularity on a daily basis. However, cloud computing as a whole solves some problem but also creates some new ones. This report presents a holistic view of the cloud computing technology, it’s usage in current enterprises and its core advantages as well as disadvantages for a modern business environment. Specifically, this report would the objectives of the project, the search questions, the scope, limitations and research methodology.
Cloud computing could be explained as a computing model that serves on-demand access to a commonly shared pool of ICT based resources such as end-user application, middleware, networks, storage systems, operating systems, services among others. Overall, a cloud computing system has 3 different services and 4 different types of deployment models. Services include, SaaS, the IaaS and the SaaS. On the other hand, the deployment model includes include Private cloud, Public Cloud, Hybrid Cloud and Community based cloud (AlHakami, 2012). Cloud computing-based solutions have some key features and it includes broad network access, on-demand self-service, tiered service, measurable service delivery, rapid flexibility and resource pooling. Now, on-demand self-service are easily accessible with extremely low amount of intervention from personnel as they are entirely automated. All of these services are also delivered to the audience in real-time. Apart from that, the cloud services access is made possible via various platforms including laptops and mobile phones via internet. Resource Pooling: Since the resources are being pooled from the cloud, multiple users can be served at one single moment using similar resources (Bisong and M. Rahman, 2011). Also, these resources are then dynamically linked to different sets of users whenever they need storage, virtual machines and memory . Cloud delivered solutions are rapidly elastic and fully flexible and thus they can be scaled up and down as the needs be. Apart from this, the services are measured as well which in turn means that the end-user is only charged when the system is being used based on the bandwidth, the processing power, the storage used among others.
Cloud computing systems has become highly popular and common around the globe owing to the following main characteristics including less cost, pricing model, low emission of energy, centralized database, low up-front investment, service availability and flexibility. Cloud Computing also shares similar functionalities with current systems that includes things such as on-demand services, scalability, virtualization as well as scalability. It would incorporate things such as different technologies within it including things such as grid computing and utility computing (Kim, Lee and Park, 2012).
Benefits Of Cloud Computing In Business
Cloud computing is different in many ways and from some other concepts of computing. In today’s business environment, it has revolutionized the way IT hardware and services are deployed, delivered and consumed. Some of the key benefits includes:
Cloud computing provides greater amount of flexibility in terms of hardware, software, services, accessibility and pricing.
As per (Avram, 2014), the companies are adopting cloud computing at a faster rate because it facilitates in cutting expenses. Cloud service providers installs all equipments in “in-house” (Buyya et al., 2009)thereby saving considerable budget of the company. Also, the organization need to pay only for what they actually use. This means that organizations pay only for those services which they use when they actually access the cloud services.
Software and hardware automatic upgrades
As per the (Pazowski, 2013), when an organization implements an IT solution to speed up the operations, it actually faces an undesirable issue of not having enough funds to keep the infrastructure updated with new releases. This is because of high cost of purchasing the solution and then maintaining the involving hardware and software. These issues can be resolved by implementing cloud computing as it will help the company in shifting the expenses from capital to operating costs. The organization will be able to reduce its expenses and also remain competitive in the market by remain technological advanced with increased profit and low cost services.
The market is flooded with various service providers and they try to attract customers with every possible mean. Hence, it becomes a necessity for the organization to stay competitive and as per (AlHakami, 2012) the best way to increase the market reach is by having an edge over the competitors. This can be done by responding to the customer’s changing needs with least waiting period. (Kim, Lee and Park, 2012) proves that cloud computing can achieve this goal without much expenses. Since internet is covering people like never before, availability of cloud computing is now around the clock. This will help organization to provide services in a shorter span of time. Hence, it can be used as a competitive tool in any business.
Risks of Cloud Computing in Business
Cloud computing has helped many organization to excel in their business but along with advantages it has some disadvantage’s also. Following are some of the shortcomings of cloud computing which the decision makers need to consider while adopting it:
With the spread of Internet, number of users accessing it has also taken a huge leap forward. This has resulted in increasing the chances of various attacks by viruses, cybercrimes and worms. As per (Bisong and M. Rahman, 2011), an attack occurred in one of the known service providers – Google Inc. wherein their servers were hacked. Following figure shows the percentage wise major cloud computing issues:
The attackers and hackers try to manipulate with the application stored in the cloud. They are able to find loopholes in the application or website and hence make changes in the software which deviate it from its normal execution. Hackers implant a malicious program and use virtual machine to target clouds and inject malwares in the services. As a result of which, they can causes damages such as eavesdropping or stealing data.
As per , authentication is a weak point in the web server world and always become the main target especially when it is performed through less effective encryption system. All service provider uses three types of authentication as per (Rajasekar and Imafidon, 2011). In this type of attack, hackers use credential and confidential information of user to gain access.
Privacy has always been a key concern for the users. Different organizations access data in unencrypted form. As (Tari, 2014), data privacy can be studied from two perspectives such as regulatory compliance and inadequate user control. Organization sometimes use cloud space for uploading files which can leak confidential information and lead to privacy issues of both personal and organizational data. Besides this, the location of data can also lead to privacy issues.
This type of attack uses Extensible Mark-up Language (XML) signature to attack the process of validation of web servers (Tari, 2014). When user makes request for a service, it communicated with Simple Object Access Protocol (SOAP) and submits the request in XML format. Wrapping attack occurs when SOAP messages are translated in TLS layer (Transport Layer Services) between authorized user and web server.
Case study analysis
Migration of Log angles city to Google Gmail case got huge consideration and attention. It includes migration of 17,000 users to Gmail. However, the migration process was not always been very smooth. Heads of IT who are going to migrate or evaluate users to Gmail should know both the successes and issues faced by others while adopting cloud computing. CIO for the City of Los Angeles has revealed various challenges faced by the government due to the cloud adoption. Sometimes, it is not feasible to meet the compliance requirements of regulation by cloud services. This has restrained 13,500 members of Log angles police department from migrating to cloud. Along with this, some issues are part of cloud strategy – operational fitness issues, network issues and capacity issues. However, in spite of these challenges, city had estimated to save around $5 million from migrating. Since the city had been facing critical financial constraints, this savings had outcast the challenges.
As evident from earlier in the report, cloud-based systems are taking over the world gradually. Majority of companies are adopting these models and finding benefits. As a result, the City of LA also wishes to migrate to cloud based solutions for their requirements. In this case, the requirement is Emailing system. For the same, they’ve decided to migrate to Google Mail. Google Mail is complete cloud-hosted emailing service and does not require any traditional hardware such as Email Server, File Server, Database server and so on. Both the front-end system and the back-end system to manage users, policies and configurations are hosted online. The system is highly flexible and can be modified and configured as per needs. The City of LA should adopt to this cloud-based solution to realize its benefits. City of LA must decide exactly what they need to migrate first. Should they migrate existing emails and database, the user database, the contacts etc or just the email. They must also determine, how they will be accessing these emails i.e., completely on the Web or while using a dedicated Email Software. Then, they would need to decide how the Google Mail be hosted and for the same Google offers G Suite which can be set up on one’s own server or even on Google’s own server. Apart from that, they would need to assess the data storage requirements for each other users. Once the cloud part has been finalized, they can then plan for the migration. However, before that, they would also need to take the backup of existing emails to migrate this to the Google Mail.
As evident from this report, cloud-based solutions are gaining popularity. It would only make sense that businesses from all around the world realize it’s benefits and start embracing the cloud as much as they can. However, they also need to be vigil on certain areas such as the risks and security challenges involved with cloud, the overall return on investment and benefits-to-cost ratio.
AlHakami, H., 2012. Comparison Between Cloud and Grid Computing: Review Paper. International Journal on Cloud Computing: Services and Architecture, 2(4), pp.1-21.
Avram, M., 2014. Advantages and Challenges of Adopting Cloud Computing from an Enterprise Perspective. Procedia Technology, 12(2), pp.529-534.
Bisong, A. and M. Rahman, S., 2011. An Overview Of The Security Concerns In Enterprise Cloud Computing. International Journal of Network Security & Its Applications, 3(1), pp.30-45.
Buyya, R., Yeo, C., Venugopal, S., Broberg, J. and Brandic, I., 2009. Cloud computing and emerging IT platforms: Vision, hype, and reality for delivering computing as the 5th utility. Future Generation Computer Systems, 25(6), pp.599-616.
Kim, D., Lee, J. and Park, Y., 2012. A Study of Factors Affecting the Adoption of Cloud Computing. The Journal of Society for e-Business Studies, 17(1), pp.111-136.
Pazowski, P., 2013. Cloud Computing - A Case Study for the New Ideal of the IS/IT Implementation. Zadar. Croatia International Conference, 2(1), pp.12-13.
Rajasekar, N. and Imafidon, C., 2011. Exploitation of Vulnerabilities in Cloud-Storage. GSTF INTERNATIONAL JOURNAL ON COMPUTING, 1(2), pp.12-13.
Tari, Z., 2014. Security and Privacy in Cloud Computing. IEEE Cloud Computing, 1(1), pp.54-57.