Cloud computing is considered as a practice of making use of a network for remote servers which could be hosted on the internet to store, manage as well as process data without making use of a local server or personal computer. Let us take a close look on purposes of cloud computing and the benefits as well as drawbacks.
Objectives of Cloud Computing
Before deciding whether to choose these services or not, a clear definition about the applications of software also has to be understood clearly. This might include the user functions, data functions along with the most important attributes about the software as a business system.
Access – Businesses should be able to identify which users, agencies, clients and staffs require access to the functionalities of software and the data that requires to be manipulated. Similarly it also controls what kind of access to the networks is made available to all.
Availability – The availability is yet another purpose of cloud computing and this requires the time at which the access is required whether it is during day or weekends etc. Furthermore it also includes how long the cloud computing could be made unavailable for users followed by how critical is access for the specific system.
Budget – The extent of impact budget issues and timing issues could have on a possible solution is also among some of the most important purposes of cloud computing.
Backup and Recovery – This includes the speed at which the system could be made available again once it goes down. The rate at which the data could continuously change and the total amount of data that is likely going to be there.
Data Sharing – Whether there are any other software systems or data systems that have the ability to share information with this software and whether the data sharing is performed in real-time or batched and whether it is automated or manual?
Security – The importance and security of data for the company and whether there are any legal or other security requirements for the data as well as software interface.
Cloud Computing Advantages
Now let’s go through the benefits as well as drawbacks of cloud computing. The ability of cloud computing to transform the way in which companies could make use of technology for servicing customers, partners, suppliers and thereby offering them with enhanced ability and agility are considered as the most important advantages of cloud computing.
Some of the key benefits are explained in detail below.
Cost Efficiency – Cloud computing avoids the need for businesses to invest in stand-alone software as well as servers. Companies can avoid additional costs that are otherwise associated with licensing fees, data storage costs, costs for software updates as well as management by means of utilizing the cloud capabilities. The availability of one time payments followed by the ability to pay while on the go is among some of the benefits that helps save on costs. Cloud computing avoids the need for on-site servers as the businesses and their data are stored in a virtual space. Similarly it reduces the need for in-house IT staffs as most of the manual updates are tasks that have to be done by a system administrator and it would be fulfilled by cloud computing by making use of resource APIs. The hosting servers would be actively monitored, maintained and upgraded with the help of cloud providers.
Availability Any Time – The continuous availability and location independence that helps with data storage, computing as well as networking is also made possible with cloud computing. Thus information can be accessed easily and similarly user requirements could be accommodated even if they are in different time zones and geographic locations.
Simplified Data Recovery and Backup – As the whole data resides on cloud rather than a physical device, the process of data recovery and backup is simplified. The data could be stored off-site and could be easily copied to different servers in various locations. Thus businesses can retrieve the data from other backup networks even though one might go down. The software program of the backup service will encrypt the data in a computer prior to sending it to the cloud. The virus or infection can also be detected before sending the data with the help of this technology.
Redundancy and Scalability – Resiliency is a major benefit as it defines that the data centers and its components such as servers and storage would continue to function even though some kind of disruption do occurs. It is also scalable which means even smaller companies could get immense value in using data centers that help them manage their cloud computing.
Storage – Compared to a personal computer, cloud computing has the ability to store much more data and can prove to be of use for smaller, medium and larger companies with almost unlimited storage capacity on offer.
Device Independence – It could be accessed from any device which has access to the internet making it device-independent in its characteristics. This means that any device which has a browser as well as an internet connection could leverage the benefits of these services.
Even though there are quite a huge number of advantages, some drawbacks are also there for cloud computing.
Some of the drawbacks of cloud computing are as follows.
Hacking of account or service credentials
Presence of an insecure interface – Interfaces is an important requirement for cloud provisioning, management as well as monitoring and is used commonly by IT administrators. At the same time, APIs is integral to security as well as availability of general cloud services which leads to a possibility of risk as companies will be required to surface their credentials to third-parties so as to enable their agency.
Insufficient knowledge about the cloud environment – Companies that does not have complete awareness about the cloud environment are at a higher risk compared to those who have a clear understanding about cloud computing technology.
Risk of shared vulnerabilities – Even though the infrastructure, platforms and applications are shared by cloud service providers for delivering the services in a scalable way, there is a greater risk of shared vulnerabilities which is known to exist in almost all delivery models.