Cloud computing refers to anything that is involved in delivering host-based services on the Internet. The services are of three types: IaaS (Infrastructure-as-a-Service), PaaS (Platform-as-a-Service), and SaaS (Software-as-a-Service). The term ‘cloud computing’ is derived from the symbol of the cloud that often describes the Internet in flowcharts and diagrams.
Recently, cloud computing has become one of the most hyped information technology topics of the decade (Enslin 2012). With cloud computing one can access documents and applications from any part of the world. This frees you from being bound to your computer at home. Miller says that cloud computing is definitely not for everyone (Miller 2009). There are advantages and disadvantages to this type of internet computing.
While analyzing the advantages, Miller says computing on the internet results in lower IT infrastructure and software costs. This is because, to handle their peak needs companies will not need to invest in more powerful servers and equipments to handle the peaks. If the IT department uses the computing power of the cloud to supplement internal computing resources, the peak needs can be easily handled by servers and computers in the cloud. As for software costs, with cloud computing IT staff are saved the cost of installing and maintaining the software programs on every computer in the organization (Miller 2009).
Cloud computing also results in enhanced service accessibility. This means that with this technology one can access services that are otherwise unavailable. The vast majority of the function is performed on the server-side, which means the user can run on a device with very little capacity. This has opened up countless possibilities in the forms of mobile phone and hand-help computers. This enables one to gain access to services from multiple device types, whether laptops, desktops, mobile phones, and so on (Clarke 2009). Clarke further talks about the technical advantages of cloud computing including professional backup and recovery, collaboration convenience, scalability, and copyright convenience.
One may think that with all these benefits, cloud computing may not have any disadvantages. However, that is not true. One of the main limitations is that it requires high-speed internet connection at all times. A lot of good features of portable computing create issues when you’re depending on web-based applications. To solve this problem, certain web-based applications are now being designed in such a way that one can work on a desktop with internet connection. An example is Google Gears, which converts Google’s web based applications to locally run applications (Miller 2009).
According to Miller another issue is the security of the data on the cloud. There are possibilities of unauthorized access to your data that is stored in the cloud. In addition, although the data is generally safe, but if it happens to somehow get deleted, there is no way to create a backup. In such cases, people generally lose all their information. Another disadvantage that is subject to change in the near future is the limited features of internet computing. Today not all web-based applications have the unique features that their traditional desktop applications have.
As with everything else, cloud computing has its pros and cons. Users must appreciate the advantages, disadvantages, and risks and then carefully consider how it can be applicable to their specific needs (Clarke 2009). Wherever cloud computing is adopted, risk management must be planned and implemented.
· Clarke, R. (2009). “Computing Clouds on the Horizon? Benefits and Risk’s from the User’s Perspective”. Available:
Last accessed 25th January 2013.
· Enslin, Z. (2012). Cloud computing adoption: Control objectives for information and related technology (COBIT) - mapped risks and risk mitigating controls. African Journal of Business Management, Vol.6 (37), pp. 10185-10194.
· Miller, M. (2009). Cloud Computing: Web-Based Applications That Change the Way You Work and Collaborate Online. US: Que Publishing.
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