Pluses and Minuses of Cloud Computing

Pluses and Minuses of Cloud Computing

Here, is a professional paper I have written on the topic of Cloud Computing. This is work that I have worked on while at the Center for Information and Communication Sciences at Ball State University.

To view PDF version, use this link: Cloud Computing

 

What is the Cloud

In the realm of technology, cloud computing represents a large abundance of computers and servers that are accessible through the internet.  In his Book, Cloud Computing, Michael Millers States that “Cloud Computing lets you access all your applications and documents from anywhere in the world, freeing you from the confines of the desktop and making it easier for group members in different locations to collaborate.”

 

Cloud Services

When thinking about the different types of cloud services, there are several that come to mind: Software-as-a-service (SaaS), Infrastructure-as-a-service (IaaS), Platform-as-a-service (PaaS), and even private, public, and even hybrid clouds.

Several companies give examples and definitions of what public, private, and hybrid clouds mean.  Interoute: from the ground to the cloud, gives very clear and distinct explanations of the different types and models of cloud services.

According to interoute, the most recognizable model of cloud computing is the public cloud.  It is suggested that the public cloud is most recognizable because, by definition, it is publicly available.  Anyone can use a public cloud.  Since this specific type of model is publicly available to everyone, usually non-sensitive content is stored here.

On interoute’s website, the definition of a private cloud is provided: “A private cloud is a particular model of cloud computing that involves a distinct and secure cloud based environment in which only the specified client can operate.” (interoute, 2016)

A hybrid integration is something that usually consists of two of more components.  In this case, a hybrid cloud consists of a public and private cloud.  For some organizations, there are multiple cloud models within the same organization.  When thinking about a public cloud, it is usually used for non-sensitive information and a private cloud is for more sensitive information that you only want specific people to have access to.  As explained by interoute, “an organization can maximize their efficiencies by employing public cloud services for all non-sensitive operations, only relying on a private cloud where they require it and ensuring that all of their platforms are seamlessly integrated.”

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Figure 1: “Service” Graph

Infrastructure as a service includes virtual server space, network connections, bandwidth, IP addresses and load balancers. The client is given access to these components in order to build their own IT platforms and software. This gives access to IT resources that smaller companies may not be able to afford in house. The cloud provider handles the maintenance, upgrades and no installation expense is needed for the client. If the business operations fluctuate, or they are looking to expand, they can utilize the cloud resource when they need it rather than purchase, install and integrate hardware themselves.

Platform as a Service allows users to create software applications using tools supplied by the provider. The point of a platform as a service is to combine development of platforms with the infrastructure. Anytime a company wants to change programs or use different applications, there is a way for the company to do so without having to write new codes to support it. Looking into the future and the advancements of technology, more applications are beginning to become available on new platforms such as mobile and tablet devices. This allows flexibility within a company.

Software as a service allows end users and customers to access software applications over the internet.  “A good way to understand the SaaS model is by thinking of a bank, which protects the privacy of each customer while providing service that is reliable and secure—on a massive scale. A bank’s customers all use the same financial systems and technology without worrying about anyone accessing their personal information without authorization.” (Salesforce, 2016) Since the company would be purchasing a pre-existing software from a provider, the provider would manage all the software and hardware.

 

Benefits

There are several features and benefits to using a public cloud.  “Ultimate scalability, cost effective, utility style costing, reliability, flexibility, and location independence” are some benefits explained by this specific cloud vendor.  (interoute, 2016) Merriam-Webster dictionary defines scalable as “capable of being easily expanded or upgraded on demand”.  This definition allows for better understand why public cloud usage is so popular.  Being able to adapt to the fluctuations in activity is a core benefit of a public cloud.

Listed on their website, interoute states that “higher security and privacy, more control, cost and energy efficiency, improved reliability, and cloud bursting” are features and benefits of using a private cloud.  (interoute, 2016) Higher security allows for only the individual, or company, accessing the information is the only ones that can access the information.  Since private clouds are only accessible by one organization, the organization that has access can control, configure, and manage their cloud usage based on their preferences.

A hybrid integration is something that usually consists of two of more components.  In this case, a hybrid cloud consists of a public and private cloud.  For some organizations, there are multiple cloud models within the same organization.  When thinking about a public cloud, it is usually used for non-sensitive information and a private cloud is for more sensitive information that you only want specific people to have access to.  As explained by interoute, “an organization can maximize their efficiencies by employing public cloud services for all non-sensitive operations, only relying on a private cloud where they require it and ensuring that all of their platforms are seamlessly integrated.”

 

Risks

New and immerging technologies are always at risk. Since cloud computing allows storage of private and non-sensitive information, the cloud would be the perfect place to for threats to take place. Cloud Security Alliance classifies twelve threats to be the most dangerous cloud security threats in 2016, that any company either in the cloud or thinking about moving to the cloud, needs to be aware of.

Cloud security market is rapidly growing. From 2013-2014, 43% of companies experienced a data breach. (Weise, 2014) For companies that have not experienced a data breach yet, it is most likely because of the security that they have in place. For any company looking to transition or move parts of their business into the cloud, there should be some time discussing how security is going to be handled and controlled.

 

Conclusion

In conclusion, cloud computing is a big hit with many companies. All companies should consider the option of utilizing the cloud. There are benefits such as heightened security, more collaboration, and improved reliability. Emerging technologies will require more data, more applications, and more users. Investing in the cloud will be the best choice because it is better to be proactive than reactive.

 

Selected Bibliography on Cloud Computing

By Randy Hiser

 

  • Garfinkel, S. (2011). The Cloud Imperative. Technology Review. Retrieved from http://www.technologyreview.com/news/425623/the-cloud-imperative/
  • interoute. (2016, September 8). Cloud Articles. Retrieved from interoute: from the ground to the cloud: http://www.interoute.com/cloud-article/what-cloud-computing
  • Miller, M. (2008). Cloud computing : Web-Based Applications That Change the Way You Work and Collaborate Online. Que Publishing.
  • Salesforce. (2016). Power Your Business with the Best of the Web. Retrieved from Salesforce: Connect to your Customer in a Whole New Way: https://www.salesforce.com/saas/
  • Weise, E. (2014, September 24). Retrieved from USA Today: http://www.usatoday.com/story/tech/2014/09/24/data-breach-companies-60/16106197/

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