The concept of Cloud Computing has been around for several years and has emerged as a new field in Computer Science. It provides a means for businesses and companies to increase their Information Technology (IT) capabilities and resources without investing in new infrastructure, training or licensed software. Cloud Computing has revolutionized the way companies conduct and manage operations delivering host based services such as Platform services, Infrastructure services and Software services over the Internet. It is called Cloud Computing because “the data and applications exist on a cloud of web servers” (unknown, 2009). Major concerns with the implementation of cloud computing are associated with privacy and security. Businesses and Companies are wary about trusting their essential data with another company and concerned about client privacy being compromised. This purpose of this paper is to discuss in detail what is cloud computing, the services offered, security concerns and mitigation strategies along with the legal and political issues associated with the integration and implementation of Cloud Computing; educating and informing others, ultimately easing their mind about the use of Cloud Computing.
Cloud Computing has also been referred to as “Internet Computing”. The internet is visualized as clouds and the computation/computing is done through the internet hence the term, “cloud computing”. As mentioned earlier it provides a means for businesses and companies to increase their Information Technology (IT) capabilities and resources without investing in new infrastructure, training or licensed software. Companies are now able to conduct and manage operations by delivering host based services such as Platform services, Infrastructure services and Software services over the Internet. Unlike utility computing (a service provisioning model that packages computing resources charging its customers based upon need and usage instead of a flat rate), autonomic computing (computer model designed for computers/resources self management) or grid computing (the use of many computers/resources in a network to solve or work on a single problem simultaneously), which are alternatives to cloud computing; cloud computing has its own independent computing platform. It is cost-effective because “initial and recurring expenses are lower than traditional computing” and maintenance cost are reduced since third party companies maintain cloud operations and storage data. Cloud Computing differentiates from traditional hosting such that it is “sold on demand, typically by the minute or the hour. A user can have as much or as little of a service as they want at any given time. The provider manages the services offered thus all the client needs is internet access and a computer” for access to the services (unknown2, 2009). “Cloud computing is characterized by features such as platform, location and device independency, which make it easily adoptable for all sizes of businesses” (unknown3, 2009). Google Apps has been mentioned by unknown to be one of the best examples of cloud computing. These applications are accessed via a browser and can be deployed on computers with access to the internet. Zoho offices specializing in business and productivity solutions along with Sales Force, Customer Relationship Management (CRM) Company also use cloud computing for their applications. The Zoho and Sales Force applications are accessed by their users via an internet browser so that multiple users can have access to their apps from any location. “Amazon.com, IBM and Sun also offer on-demand storage and computing resources” associated with cloud computing, allowing the developers to create large-scale fully featured applications using internet clouds API’s and web services (unknown4, 2009). There are three types of cloud computing: Software as a Service, Platform as a Service and Infrastructure as a service. In a nutshell the...
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