January 10th, 2018
How Cloud Computing Betters Value Delivered by Information Technology
Technological advancements in data storage and retrieval have provided new ways through which Information technology adds value to a business. One of these technologies is cloud computing, a term that has been used in reference to applications and hardware that allow entities to store and retrieve data from a remote “cloud” (Armbrust et al., 2010). Although lacking a clear definition, Wang and colleagues (2010) propose that cloud computing comprises “a set of network enabled services, providing scalable, QoS [quality of service] guaranteed, normally personalized, inexpensive computing infrastructures on demand, which could be accessed in a simple and pervasive way” (p. 139). I believe that the features of cloud computing provide businesses with opportunities to reap the potential of IT, without having to invest heavily in IT infrastructure. Such potential widens the scope of practice for computer operations technologists, who would be needed to develop technologies, for instance to enhance security of cloud computing systems.
Studies evaluating cloud computing and its potential for business applications highlight various opportunities that cloud computing offer for businesses to grow. For instance, as discussed by Ambrust et al. (2010), entities that adopt cloud computing solutions can avoid the installation and maintenance costs that various IT systems embody, since cloud computing provides functionalities that would be provided by in-house systems. Weinhardt et al. (2009) note that ability to perform such functionalities in a cloud-computing platform arises from its advancements over the predecessor technologies such as grid computing. Accordingly, unlike grid computing, a higher virtualization in the technology employed in cloud computing allows users to access application through standard web interfaces thus eliminating the need to install such applications in their local machines. Hence, entities adopting cloud computing would forego the costs associated with installation and maintenance of such applications.
The literature reviewed identify a second opportunity offered by cloud computing to be enabling entities to scale their resources according to their needs. This arises from convenient pricing models such as pay-per use model that allows entities to only pay for additional resources when they need them (Ambrust et al., 2010; Weinhardt et al., 2009). Related to such an advantage is the efficiency that arises from cloud computing resource optimization, which allows users faster access times, unlike in grid computing where such fast access times can only be achieved by provisioning backups (Weinhardt et al., 2009).
Although cloud computing offers such potential, various aspects challenge its wide adoption in business. Two of these are security and trust. Since data stored in cloud is located in remote hardware through services offered by other parties, organizations would need to ensure that such parties can guarantee data security either during storage or transmission (Weinhardt et al., 2009). Additionally, such providers of the cloud computing services would need to develop a high degree of trust, such that entities can use their services without the concern of their data being disclosed to unauthorized parties (Weinhardt et al., 2009). Such issue of trust has necessitated the development of bodies that accredit service providers before they start offering such services (Everett, 2009).
Evaluation of the literature on cloud computing indicates that cloud computing provides various potential for IT to add value to the business as per my earlier opinion. Such value addition is in areas such as reduced costs and increased efficiency of business processes. However, contrary to my expectations, adoption of cloud computing proceeds at a slower rate due to security and trust concerns. The sources reviewed thus presented a different perspective on the topic, namely, the need to have infrastructure for ensuring credibility of service providers to enhance adoption of cloud computing by business entities.
Armbrust, M., Fox, A., Griffith, R., Joseph, A. D., Katz, R., Konwinski, A., Lee, G., …Zaharia, M. (2010). A view of cloud computing. Communications of the ACM, 53(4), 50-58. doi:10.1145/1721654.1721672.
Everett, C. (2009). Cloud computing – a question of trust. Computer Fraud & Security, 9(6), 5-7 doi: 10.1016/S1361-3723(09)70071-5.
Wang, L., von Laszewski, G., Younge, A., He, X., Kunze, M., Tao, J., & Fu, C. (2010). Cloud computing: A perspective study. New Generation Computing, 28, 137-146.
Weinhardt, C., Anandasivam, A., Blau, B., Borissov, N., Meini, T., Michalk, W. & Stöber, J. (2009). Cloud computing – A classification, business models, and research directions. Business & Information Systems Engineering, 5, 391- 399. doi:10.1007/s12599-009-0071-2.