Cloud computing is fast becoming a norm for both IT and non-IT companies. Cloud computing is a technology that relies on keeping information online, and in so doing easing access to the information regardless of the device or network the user has. Many have praised and encouraged the use of cloud computing as an alternative to traditional computer physical storage of data as well as access to software and other services (Huth & Cebula, 2011). Concerns have however been rife over the security of data stored online, as well as intellectual property rights for the online data (Griffith, 2015). While some of the concerns on cloud computing are warranted, the technology offers much more promise than just storage of data; it provides opportunities for cost saving, improved to time to market and centralization of data among other benefits to companies.
One of the advantages of cloud computing is the flexibility it offers enterprises to get into new businesses. The availability of on-demand resources makes it easier and faster to make new configurations within a short time, which, in essence, reduces the waiting time, as is the case of traditional configurations (McKendrick, 2013). Moreover, the flexibility of cloud computing extends to the cost as users pay only for the time or services rendered by the cloud computing service providers. These benefits are true even as some argue that outages are a constant scare for access to services. While this may be true, outages are a norm even in traditional computing ecosystems, and the claim should therefore not warrant complete shunning of cloud computing.
Cloud computing also contributes to reduction of cost. Away from its convenient pay per usage billing model, cloud computing does not require the purchase of rendering infrastructure, which, therefore, lowers both acquisition and maintenance costs (McKendrick, 2013). Furthermore, the initial and recurring expenses necessary in cloud computing are far lower than traditional computing. However, cloud computing may not necessarily be cost effective, especially since it requires higher bandwidth (which is costly) for smooth operation. Regardless of its need for higher bandwidth, there are many internet service providers with flexible and affordable internet service connections, which companies can choose from for internet services.
Security, however, remains one of the major concerns of cloud computing. There have been numerous cases of security breaches and theft of customer data from cloud storages (Griffith, 2005). Moreover, many companies find the idea of entrusting their data to a cloud computing company uncomfortable. This is given the overnight changing of privacy policies of cloud computing companies, which may sometimes transfer the ownership of the data to the cloud computing service provider. Thus, although thereare contractual agreements at the signing up to the service provides assurance of security and ownership of the data, there are no guarantees to the agreements. Security breaches may be orchestrated from outside sources, which the provider cannot protect the client from.
Cloud computing is at its infancy. This means that despite the numerousvendors and products offered there are still teething problems with cloud storage management. Auto scaling, while an essential requirement for many enterprises is still problematic for many cloud computing service providers (Griffith, 2005). In its current state, cloud computing provides amiable services.These services, nonetheless, do not extendthe optimal services to the consumers who pay premium prices for the cloud services.
Cloud computing is here to stay and is being taken up swiftly. It offers numerous benefits to the consumers including flexibility, reduced cost and the ability to share theinformation in real time. However, there are concerns such as security and the service’s infancy, which prevents users from getting the optimum potential that cloud computing has to offer. That said, cloud computing remains a viable alternative, if not replacement, of traditional computing.
Griffith, E. (2015). What is cloud computing? PC Mag. Retrieved from http://www.pcmag.com/article2/0,2817,2372165,00.asp
Huth, A. & Cebula, J. (2011). The Basics of Cloud Computing. Washington, DC: Carnegie Mellon University
McKendrick, J. (2013). 5 benefits of cloud computing you aren’t likely to see in a sales brochure. Forbes. Retrieved from http://www.forbes.com/sites/joemckendrick/2013/07/21/5-benefits-of-cloud-computing-you-arent-likely-to-see-in-a-sales-brochure/