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Benefits of Cloud Computing for Businesses

Introduction

Cloud computing is an emerging concept that is recently creating a buzz across industries. Many companies today have deployed cloud computing due to the benefits it offers. According to Scott (2021), some of the world’s leading employers in such industries as power, including ENEL SpA and Siemens, have all deployed the new technologies. However, some observers believe that the benefits of cloud computing can only be realized under the right conditions (ScienceLogic, 2017). For example, a company will need to have proper risk management frameworks to ensure data safety while allowing for seamless data sharing across the cloud and network. The focus of this paper is to present an argument that cloud computing offers massive benefits to businesses as compared to traditional offline computing. To achieve this goal, cloud computing will be defined, and its applications in business outlined. Additionally, the benefits will be highlighted alongside any drawbacks of traditional offline computing. Lastly, applications of cloud computing in the modern corporate environment will be discussed.

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Cloud Computing and its Benefits

Many emerging computing concepts often attract massive attention across many contexts, including research and business. Many definitions may have been used to describe cloud computing, but the basic tenet is that cloud computing involves a computing structure with a remote data center accessible through the internet. According to Farrag and Nasr (2017), cloud computing is an internet-based model where shared information, resources, and software are availed to computers when demanded. Additionally, cloud computing can be described as virtual and scalable resources as services offer over the internet.

From the above definitions, it can be established that cloud computing comprises a cloud host provider who can take the form of an ordinary software vendor. Additionally, broad network access is made available because the resources stored in the cloud are availed to multiple computing devices over the web or the internet (Attaran & Jeremy, 2018). Resource pooling is another feature, which comprises all users gathering their resources on the cloud and sharing or accessing them as needed. Rapid elasticity means that the virtualized computing system is flexible enough to allow expansions in such aspects as the number of resources or the size of the network. Lastly, the cloud and its resources can be monitored and controlled either by the users or the provider.

One of the key benefits of cloud computing is the flexibility and scalability that are lacking in traditional offline computing. The argument is that while cloud computing takes place in a virtual space, traditional offline computing involves physical hard drives and website servers whose capacities are often limited. According to Kathuria et al. (2018), the sources of value to the business in cloud computing include scalability and rapid elasticity. Therefore, it can be argued that a firm can store virtually indefinite data and other resources on the cloud without the fear that storage capacity will be diminished. Physical computers and web servers often have definite storage capacities. For large companies, such infrastructure often becomes cumbersome and sometimes expensive to expand the storage. Even though modern computers come with higher storage capacities, it is apparent that the amount of data handled by modern corporations would require even bigger capacities that might not be feasible on a physical computing device. Therefore, companies dealing with big data are offered an opportunity to use a scalable computing platform that can meet all their needs.

An important point to emphasize is that as the digital era sets in, more volumes of data are gathered and stored, which means that not all types of computing infrastructure can handle the capacity. A real-life example is Netflix, an online streaming service provider with an estimated 53.5% of the international on-demand streaming market (Synenka, 2021). The company has a global audience and streams over 125 million hours of daily entertainment. The size of the data needed to be stored and retrieved is extreme, which explains why Netflix uses Amazon’s AWS cloud service. Therefore, the content from the cloud is only retrieved when users need it, and neither the company nor the customers need to have a massive computing infrastructure to access the content. Users need a mobile device connected to the internet and can watch all videos without having to download them. This case illustrates scalability and flexibility that cannot be found in traditional offline computing.

Another benefit of cloud computing involves the costs of setting up the computing infrastructure. In offline computing, hardware and software elements have to be purchased, installed, configured, and constantly maintained. These aspects present a major expense for a company because both the hardware and software offered on an industrial scale could be extremely expensive. Several service models in cloud computers are available, each of which has different cost implications. For example, the infrastructure as a service (IaaS) model is an arrangement where a service provider offers a set of virtualized computing resources (Rashid and Chaturvedi, 2019). These resources are dynamically provisioned to be availed to customers as a service when needed. In such a case, the firm does not have to purchase and maintain any of the computing infrastructures because they are all provided by the vendor. Additionally, all resources are accessed only upon demand, which means that a business can pay for only what is needed. However, the company may need to have the necessary platforms required to access and utilize the resources offered in cloud computing.

A similar service model is a platform as a service (PaaS) arrangement, which means that the vendors provide for both the software, including the operating systems, and the computing resources. This model means that the businesses will only have to purchase access as opposed to the infrastructure (Rashid and Chaturvedi, 2019). From an economic perspective, economies of scale are felt by the providers who can offer shared resources for only a small price. Corporations will access only what they need and leave out everything else. The vendor handles many of the technical aspects of the computing infrastructure while users only access and use the systems and resources. On the contrary, offline computing will require an entity to maintain its infrastructure and incur hefty costs in the process. Without economies of scale, the costs of such a choice can be very high, which affects the profitability of a business.

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Security is a major risk in all computing systems because breaches can cause massive damage. Traditional offline computing does not necessarily face more vulnerabilities than cloud computing. However, users in cloud computing can be assured of enhanced security through strong access controls, security intelligence, data encryption, and key management (Srivastava and Khan, 2018). Vendors of cloud computing understand that shared resources expose both the infrastructure and users to security risks. The users will only accept to purchase the cloud computing services if they can be assured of security. Additionally, many vendors are more knowledgeable on matters of computing than user companies and their information technology (IT) departments, which means that they are better suited to handle security. Better data encryption means that users can be assured of data safety, and the only aspect they need to manage is accessed controls and keys.

Lastly, data sharing is another area where businesses can benefit from cloud computing more than offline computing. Among the key features of a cloud is sharing, which means users can access the same resources and data. The only requirement for sharing to take place is an internet connection, assuming that the sharing users are authorized. In offline computing, new requirements may apply, including certain forms of encryption and decryption for the connected devices or the transition between offline and online data transit. The transfer of data has to be done by a person as opposed to accessing it from the cloud. The concept of online/offline cryptography has been explained by Li et al. (2018) to offer a potential solution for data sharing between offline and online computing. Such aspects can complicate the systems while cloud computing only requires access codes, keys, or passwords. Therefore, many technical aspects involved in data sharing can be eliminated, which makes it easy for users to utilize the data and resources they need.

Modern Corporate Applications

The modern corporate world has multiple applications for cloud computing. As mentioned earlier, companies have entered the age of big data characterized by the collection of large volumes of data. However, businesses still need to derive value from raw data, and the only way to do so is through analysis. According to IBM Cloud Team (2020), big data analytics is becoming a mechanism with which vendors are leveraging cloud computing. In the PaaS model, analytics tools can also be offered as part of the shared resources. An argument can be made that cloud computing faces an uncertain future if it fails to adapt to the current trends in the use of big data analytics. The rationale is that users will need value for their money and analytics tools are increasingly becoming a necessity. Vendors without such offers face a real possibility of becoming obsolete and losing their market share to the more innovative providers.

System failures and other crises could occur and businesses could lose critical data. Therefore, modern corporations can use cloud computing as off-site data storage to serve as backup (Reed, 2018). Such a decision applies even to companies that prefer to use offline computing, where setting up a similar off-site infrastructure for backup could be extremely expensive. Additionally, those using cloud computing can still use a different vendor as a backup because not even cloud infrastructure is absolutely safe from failure and attacks. Similar to the benefits firms get from cloud computing, cloud backups offer several advantages, including easy retrieval. Additionally, the users can determine what data to save on the cloud and what to keep on their systems. Automated practices involving updates and retrievals can also be offered as long as the users have made the correct configurations. Today, loss of data can devastate an organization because information supports decisions even at the operational levels. With the security guarantees offered by cloud computing, modern corporations should consider cloud backup as a crucial IT risk management approach.

Lastly, modern companies could also use cloud computing in developing the applications they need for their operations. According to Tarud (2021), a cloud-based application can be described as a process where cloud-based applications are built. Cloud computing offers massive processing power on which many businesses have become dependent. Most importantly, the fact that many businesses are using cloud computing resources and platforms means that all applications they need will require to have capabilities that allow them to operate on the cloud. Cloud apps offer benefits similar to cloud computing itself, including faster computing, security, and scalability. A key point to note is that the applications will be making computations on the server side, which simply means that cloud servers are used. Therefore, the same speed levels are possible, including the scalability of all computations. Therefore, all matters of computation needed by a modern business are made available on the cloud.

Conclusion

Cloud computing has been defined as an internet-based model where resources, information, and software are shared. Traditional offline computing has been described as a framework involving physical hardware and web servers used for computing. The benefits of cloud computing have been discussed in detail, including such aspects as data sharing, scalability and flexibility, security, and costs. For example, cloud computing does not require firms to purchase the expensive infrastructure comprising physical hardware and web servers. Flexibility and scalability have been described as aspects of cloud computing that emanate from the fact that virtual platforms with indefinite capacity are offered. These benefits allow companies adequately adapt to the age of big data, where massive volumes of information are gathered and analyzed to support critical decisions. Lastly, modern applications in the corporate world have been highlighted. For example, backups, cloud app development, and analytics are some of the emerging computing needs for modern firms and for which cloud computing offers solutions. Overall, cloud computing is seen as the future of computing.

Reference List

Attaran, M. and Jeremy, W. (2018) ‘Cloud computing technology: improving small business performance using the Internet’, Journal of Small Business & Entrepreneurship, 31(6), pp. 495-519. Web.

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Farrag, M. and Nasr, M. (2017) ‘A survey of cloud computing approaches, business opportunities, risk analysis and solving approaches’, International Journal of Advanced Networking and Applications, 9(2), pp. 3382-3386. Web.

IBM Cloud Team (2020) Top 7 most common uses of cloud computing. Web.

Kathuria, A. et al. (2018) ‘A strategic value appropriation path for cloud computing’, Journal of Management Information Systems, 35(3), pp. 740-775. Web.

Li, J., et al. (2018) ‘Secure attribute-based data sharing for resource-limited users in cloud computing’, Computer & Security, 72, pp. 1-12. Web.

Rashid, A. and Chaturvedi, A. (2019) ‘Cloud computing characteristics and services: a brief review’, International Journal of Computer Sciences and Engineering, 7(2), pp. 421-426. Web.

Reed, J. (2018) An introduction to cloud backup: what, why, and how. Web.

ScienceLogic (2017) Cloud computing: guide for creating a business case. Web.

Scott, P. (2021) Filings buzz in the power industry: 18% increase in cloud computing mentions in Q2 of 2021. Web.

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Srivastava, P. and Khan, R. (2018) ‘A review paper on cloud computing’, International Journals of Advanced Research in Computer Science and Software Engineering, 8(6), pp. 17-20. Web.

Synenka, V. (2021) Top 10 Companies Using Cloud and Why. Web.

Tarud, J. (2021) What is cloud application development?. Web.

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