Cloud Computing has several definitions that emanate from different quarters. Some people indicate that cloud computing entails the use of software and hardware that facilitate services via the internet network. The cloud shaped symbol that contains system diagrams has also led to the use of the word cloud computing. On the other hand, some people believe that any information a person or network receives out of the firewall comprises of cloud computing. Thus, various types of cloud computing abound. The ones considered public include platform as a service, software as a service, infrastructure as a service, data as a service, and storage as a service. Notably, though the name suggests an advancement in technology, various merits and demerits abound. Some of the merits of cloud computing include cost efficiency, unlimited storage, software integration, backup and recovery, quick deployment and easy access to information. While the disadvantages include insecurity (it is not reliable), slowness, cost and lack of support. This paper explicates the advantages and disadvantages of cloud computing.
Firstly, cloud computing is deemed cost efficient for companies that seek to install the program. Its cost effectiveness originates from the fact that it is easy to use, maintain and upgrade. It should be noted that software costs is the matter discussed here because it was a costly affair initially as it required companies to purchase software for every desktop. The licensing fee is what makes the traditional form expensive. The cost effectiveness with cloud computing is the fact that it lowers a company’s IT expenses as it has several one-time payments such as pay-as-you-go, which seem reasonable to a company.
The second advantage associated with cloud computing is the fact that it facilitates backup and recovery of information. This originates from the fact that in Cloud Computing, all information is stored in the cloud, which means that backing it up or recovering any lost information is easier. In addition, the information can be transferred easily onto a storage device. Jamsa (2012) indicates that companies dealing with cloud computing have competent people that can facilitate retrieval of information in case it is lost. This makes Cloud Computing to be preferred because it facilitates easier information recovery as compared to traditional methods of data storage.
Thirdly, it is the automatic integration of software in the cloud. Antonopoulos and Gillam (2010) indicate that Cloud Computing differs from the old system of data storage basing on the fact that in the cloud, integration of software takes place automatically. This deals away with the extra efforts required for integrating or customizing applications as per a person’s preferences. It should be noted that Cloud Computing facilitates the customization of options with ease. This means that a person can select software applications and services that one deems will suit their particular enterprise.
Another merit associated with cloud computing is the fact that it avails almost unlimited storage space. This is a merit because it deals away with the fact that a person or organization will not be worried because of running out of storage space. Running out of storage space creates problems for organizations, which have to spend money and time in pursuit of more storage space; thus, cloud computing avails a merit.
Cloud computing also makes information accessibility faster and easier. Notably, Cloud Computing only requires registration after, which a person or organization can access information from anywhere as long as there is internet connection. This assures of good connection wherever a person tries to access the cloud without loss of information.
Another merit derives from the fact that cloud computing facilitates streamlining processes. This means that all tasks are streamlined because the cloud facilitates their arrangements. Thus, fewer people are required for completion of more work. Besides, it is a cheaper way of an organization globalizing its activities and operations. This abounds from the fact that myriad people across the world utilize cloud for as long as they have internet connection.
Demerits of Cloud Computing
The first demerit concerns security. Jamsa (2012) asserts that cloud computing did not come up with security measures same as those utilized in the traditional protection mechanisms. Thus, it has led to the reconsideration of the old traditional protection mechanisms. Notably, it is preferred that cloud computing should be controlled physically rather than off site control under someone else control. Those advancing for physical control indicate that this is critical in preventing the data links from been compromised. Thus, this has resulted to the delaying of adopting the adoption of cloud computing. Security issues related to cloud computing have been classified into various categories, which include recovery, data access, data segregation, bug exploitation, malicious insiders, multi-tenancy issues and accountability. This means that a variety of security solutions have to be adopted, which include standardization of APIs, cryptography, utilization of various cloud providers, improving virtual machine support and legal support. It emerges that cloud computing stakeholders have the duty of investing heavily in risk assessment to facilitate data encryption for purposes of data protection, establishment of a trusted data foundation for purposes of securing the infrastructure and platform and increase compliance through higher assurance of auditing.
Privacy abounds as another demerit of cloud computing. Privacy is an issue because the companies that host cloud services have been accused of monitoring the communication and data stored between companies and the user either lawfully or unlawfully. An example of this privacy breach abounds emanates from NSA program working with Verizon and AT&T, which recorder an estimated 11 million phone calls. The phone calls were between citizens and these worried private advocates as the telecommunication companies were deemed having too much power to monitor the user activity. Another privacy issue emanates from the usage of cloud service provider (CSP). This is a privacy issue because Antonopoulos and Gillam (2010) opine that the implementation of cloud service becomes complicated due to virtualization and cloud storage. Notably, there is no assurance that a tenant or customer’s data is difficult to remain in the same system or data center. Another privacy concern related to the cloud providers accessing private information is that they can easily alter the information whether accidentally or deliberately.
Compliance is also deemed as a demerit because of the many regulations involved. Antonopoulos and Gillam (2010) ascertain that in the United States, it is a requirement to adopt hybrid deployment in order to have compliance with a variety of regulations such as HIPAA, SOX, and FISMA. In turn, the hybrid system is more expensive and avails restricted benefits. Another problem associated with compliance centers on the SAS 70- type II audit, which some providers of cloud computing obtain. However, this SAS 70 type II audit has been criticized for its variance and not disclose the handpicked set of goals. There are also regulations that have to be observed in some countries. For instance, in the EU, customers contracting with cloud providers situated outside EEA and EU are required to comply to the regulations set of EU regarding the exportation of personal data. This can be a challenge to the customers.
Abuse of cloud computing abounds as the fourth demerit. Abuse emanates from the fact that people can purchase hardware privately with the nefarious reasons. Some of the abuses associated with cloud computing include password cracking and sending of viral messages via internet. Identity theft also ranks among abuses experienced through cloud computing. The governance of cloud computing is also complex and requires experienced personnel. This is essential because it ensures a secured computing environment and compliance with relevant information technology policies. Thus, it requires an organization to have a set of capabilities such as compliance management, data security management, relationship management, and demand management.
Technical issues also abound as a demerit. Jamsa (2012) opines that even the best cloud service providers run into this problem from time to time. Dysfunctions occur to the cloud computing services despite the fact that they can be accessed anywhere and at anytime. It is a prerequisite that an organization’s internet service is good enough in order to allow them to be logged in at all times.
In conclusion, various definitions regarding cloud computing abound. Some quarters deem it as any connection facilitated beyond a person’s firewall while others are of the opinion that it refers to the utilization of software and hardware to facilitate connection via the internet network. Thus, several merits and demerits associated with cloud computing have been explored in this essay. Some of the merits explicated include faster accessibility of information and data, unlimited storage available in the clouds, easy back up and retrieval of information, cost efficiency and automatic integration of software. However, cloud computing also has some demerits that include technical issues, security, compliance, privacy and abuses. Abuses associated with cloud computing derive from the fact that the software and hardware are acquired privately with malicious intentions such as hacking and sending of viral messages to other people’s mails and servers.