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Cloud Computing – Advantages and Challenges

By Yana, Customer Support Specialist at Flat Rock

We live in times of constantly increasing globalization where customer demands keep on growing and growing. Naturally this brings new challenges for the business every day. In an effort to deal quickly and efficiently with those challenges managers and their companies are constantly looking for modern technologies. It’s a never ending quest for the latest and the best options which those technologies can bring.

The functionality of the software is really important, but the managers are looking for solutions for the long term. In this respect, other elements such as model of licensing, hardware platform and flexibility are part of the final decision. Of course, the size of the investment is a great deal too, so looking for an alternative and effective solution is an ongoing process.

Not long ago the only option for the companies was to buy the desired product and then to implement it in their own infrastructure. This is a pretty big initial investment. It’s not only the licenses and the consulting service that you need to buy. You also need to get the right specialists who will maintain the systems and will guarantee their successful work.

The solution to all these troubles has finally arrived, just turn your heads up and you will see it up in the Cloud!

Generally the cloud describes a service which is offered by the IT companies. The service gives the ability to use all the functionalities of the software without buying the

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licences and the hardware and without any engagement to settings and support. The only thing you need to have is a computer and internet connection because the cloud allows access to information and computer resources basically from everywhere.

The cloud deployment models are available under Public, Private, Community and Hybrid cloud.

The public cloud consists of services for the general public. Some examples are the e-mail services, social networking sites and online photo storage services. The information in this cloud can be accessed by any subscriber.

The private cloud is organized for a specific group or organization. Access is granted only to the organization and it is managed by the organization or by a third party.

The community cloud is shared between a few organizations with similar interests and requirements.

The hybrid cloud combines some of the above methods.

In terms of service models the most common ones are SaaS, PaaS and IaaS.

Software as a service (SaaS) model gives you the ability to access both resources and applications. You don’t need to have a physical copy of the software installed on your computer. The SaaS also allows you to have the same software on all your devices at once. In the SaaS agreement you have minimum? control over the cloud.

Platform as a service (PaaS) model gives access to the components that you require to actually develop or install your own software and applications over the Internet. The network access and the operating systems are not managed by the customer so there might be some constrains about the applications which can be deployed.

Infrastructure as a Service (IaaS) model provides just the hardware and network. All applications, operating systems and software are installed or developed by the customer but they don’t have control over the cloud infrastructure.

Cloud computing can be really beneficial for your company.

First, you can reduce the initial costs related to buying hardware, software, licenses and service support. Basically you pay only for the real resources you use.

You also get unlimited storage capacity and processing. You can start your business with a small deployment and grow to a large one rapidly, and then to scale back if necessary.

Cloud computing is flexible and reliable. The flexibility allows usage of extra resources at peak times and enabling them when needed. On the other hand, services which use multiple redundant sites can support better business continuity and disaster recovery.

Your system maintenance will be much easier because the access is done through APIs which do not require application installations onto PCs.

Last but not least, since the infrastructure is accessible from anywhere the mobile workers have increased productivity.

We mentioned the advantages, yet we have to keep in mind that like any developing system, also this one is facing some challenges.

The main concern is related to the security and privacy. The information is transferred over the Internet and is stored in remote locations. Furthermore, the cloud is serving multiple customers simultaneously. All these factors are prerequisites for possible breaches, both accidental and deliberate.

Lack of standards is another concern. Clouds have documented interfaces but there are no standards associated with them. For this reason some clouds might not be interoperable.

The continuous evolving of users demands is quite a challenge. It affects especially the public cloud as it cannot stay ‘static’ because of the constant necessity of change.

Compliance concerns are affecting the cloud computing as well. The issue comes from the fact that the legislation regarding data protection and transfer is different in the EU and in the USA.

As a conclusion, if you are planning to use a cloud service for your business, carefully review all terms and contracts before you commit to any.

Don’t forget that your clients should be best protected. Choose wisely your cloud providers and work only with trusted companies which already have a well-developed cloud system.

For any questions or concerns, you can always get in touch with us or call at +44 20 7193 8298 and we will offer a technical explanation or a solution for your business.

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