Cloud computing is a range of technologies that have come together to deliver scalable, tailorable and virtualised IT resources/applications over the Internet.It incorporates several different types of computing, including:
- software as a service (Saas)
- platform as a service (PaaS) and
- infrastructure as a service (IaaS)
What benefits will Cloud Computing bring?
- Users can avoid capital expenditure on hardware, software, and other peripheral services, when they only pay a provider for those utilities they use
- Consumption is billed as a utility or subscription with little or no upfront cost
- Immediate access to a broad range of applications, that may otherwise be out of reach, due to:
- The lowering barriers to entry
- Shared infrastructure, and therefore lower costs;
- Lower management overhead.
- Users will have the option to terminate a contract at any time, avoiding return on investment risk and uncertainty.
- Greater flexibilty and availability of ‘shared’ information, enabling collaboration from anywhere in the world – with an internet connection.
What are the associated risks to Cloud computing?
- Cloud computing does not allow users to physically possess the storage of their data which leaves responsibility of data storage and control in the hands of their provider
- Cloud Computing could limit the freedom of users and make them dependent on the cloud computing provider
- Privileged user access – how do you control who has access to what information?
- Security of sensitive and personal information lay with the vendor. How do you explain this to your customers when their data is compromised without sounding like you’re ‘passing the buck’?
- From a business continuity stand point, can you rely on each vendor to have adequate resilience arrangements in place?
- Long-term viability — ask what will happen to data if the company goes out of business; how will data be returned and in what format?