Major Strategies and Risks behind Implementing Cloud Computing Programs
Cloud computing is increasingly becoming the topic of the day in recent years. However, the implementation and migration from the current ways of doing things to cloud computing are faced with some challenges. At the same time, it does not mean that the challenges cannot be prevented in any way. There are various strategies which the modern implementers of cloud computing have come up with to enable them preventing the challenges from becoming a big problem. This happens especially in the modern age of technological developments in which the implementers live. Some of the challenges are well known while others are in the state of evolution and which may become a big problem in the future. Therefore, as much as there is a need for curbing the challenges, there is also a need for coming up with strategies capable of expanding and addressing the challenges that may also be discovered in the future and which may compromise the benefits of cloud computing. This paper is going to look at some of the strategies and risks associated with the implementation of cloud computing especially in a world filled with technological developments. The paper will evaluate the strategies first after which it will assess the risks that implementers of cloud computing are likely to face while they are implementing and commissioning cloud computing in organizations, companies, or firms. The paper will evaluate the main strategies and main risks although there is a possibility of many others.
Computer and information technology has gone through a rapid and significant evolution since the time they became part of the business ways of doing things. This has, therefore, made the information technology to become a critical part of the organizational infrastructure in various sectors and set ups such as banks, universities, healthcare, and government organizations among many others. Cloud computing is one of the information technology models that has evolved over the last century. It helps and enables the organizations to share and host software and hardware resources over Internet connections. However, cloud computing as the newest IT model is faced with risks which can, however, be countered by implementation strategies.
One of the major strategies behind successful implementation of cloud computing is the reorganization of information technology applications in such a way that they will be ready to run in the cloud. The organization in which cloud computing is being implemented should ensure the applications are already web-based and that they will benefit from cloud-based architecture. They should also be able to scale the present IT applications up in the cloud. Moving the organization’s old legacy applications to a cloud-based architecture may not benefit the organization in any way. Therefore, the organization needs to assess thus determining the readiness of the applications for the cloud (Ali, 2010).
The organization in which cloud computing is being implemented should also determine whether they will be able to receive technical support for the cloud service. Although most of the cloud-base services are known for how easily they can be used, there comes a moment when there is a demand for technical support. When an organization implements cloud computing, it means that is entrusting business related data and information to cloud computing servers. Therefore, such an organization should ensure that it has service representative to consult if some things will go wrong. Therefore, before an organization implements cloud computing, it should ensure that it will be able to receive sufficient technical support from the service providers as stated by Onwubiko (2010).
Upon the implementation of cloud computing the application, hardware, and the operating system will be owned by the cloud computing service providers. However, the data is what the organization will own. As one of the strategies of the implementation, the organization should ensure that it is clearly acknowledged in the implementation contract that it has the power to take away the data away whenever it wants (Jaeger, Lin, & Grimes, 2008).
Before the implementation of cloud computing by the organization, it should perform costs analysis as a strategy for implementation. It should be clearly be noted that migration to the cloud computing will not be complete without the organization taking the target cloud platform consideration. The organization should ensure that it has analyzed the migration and overhead costs thus skewing the estimated cost savings. Through cost analysis, the organization will be able to determine whether to implement cloud computing or not.
Organizations considering the implementation of cloud computing should analyze the gap between certain requirements identified in regulations and the set of controls the cloud service providers provide. Therefore, the organization in which cloud computing is being implemented should ensure that it has complied with regulations thus maintaining the degree of transparency required. The organization should think through the sensible use cases, comprehensively review the contracts, and service level agreements. The organization should also understand comprehensively how the implementation of cloud computing is going to meet the specific compliance requirements of the organization (Marston et al., 2011).
One of the risks associated with the implementation of cloud computing is environmental security. Cloud computing concentrates many computing resources and users in one environment which bring up the concentration of security threats. Therefore, the size and significance of cloud environments make them become an easy target of virtual machines, malware, and brute force attacks among others (Jaeger, Lin, & Grimes, 2008).
There is also the risk of data privacy and security. Cloud computing host confidential data and information about an organization in which the service is implemented. This also involves transferring of large amounts of confidential information about the organization which may compromise the security and data privacy of the organization. Such an organization may find itself compromised due to the leaking of data to the competitors.
Cloud computing service depends on the availability of the Internet. Therefore, the risk here means that the organization in which the service is implemented requires an Internet connection to be able to access the cloud. This means that cloud computing is prone to outages and interruptions most of the time whenever an Internet connection is down. This may occur when one is doing certain important task or transaction. This means that the transaction will have to be delayed or entirely lost (Pearson, 2009).
The implementation of cloud computing presents some difficulties in creating hybrid systems. This regards to some of the organizations that store sensitive and confidential data and information in the cloud. Currently, there are no standardized forms in the industry that can apply to all the systems when connecting to the new cloud computing systems. With legacy system, there will be a need for some works and hardware tweaks for compatibility with a public cloud computing structure. With organizations running legacy system, there are likelihoods that the organizations will still keep these tried systems according to Bisong & Rahman (2010).
Organizations in which cloud computing has usually been implemented outsource data and cloud application services to a central service provider. In the case of cloud computing, the fact that cloud computing depends on the availability of Internet connection is a risk due to outages. Centralized data is another risk associated with the implementation of cloud computing. In case the cloud computing service goes down, it will affect all the clients connected to the service (Armbrust et al., 2010).
There is also the risk of disaster recovery. Hosting the organization’s computing resources, data, and information in the clouds makes the capabilities of the cloud service providers’ disaster recovery critically important to the organization’s disaster recovery and business continuity plans. Therefore, the organization is bound to lose computing resources, data, and information if it does not know the cloud service provider’s disaster recovery capabilities and if they have not been tested (Mather, Kumaraswamy, & Latif, 2009).
This paper has discussed major strategies and risks behind the implementation of cloud computing in today’s technology filled the world. However, what appears here are not exhaustively all major strategies and risks. This represents a small portion of the strategies and risks which can, however, be helpful to an organization or individual intending to implement cloud computing. There is a need for future research to unearth more information and more strategies and risks of implementing cloud computing. This will be of help to most of the organizations and individuals with the intention of implementing cloud computing as the alternative to legacy systems.
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