Cloud computing and broadband for SMEs
Photo by Seven Morris
Amongst a lot of goodies that the fast internet speeds have brought include the ability to work on the clouds. Yes, we're talking about broadband and the post-broadband world and it's hand in bringing up cloud computing. Off late, the ability to cloud-source an organization's data instead of buying self hosted applications has seen a significant rise amongst SMEs.
One of the prime reasons for the same is the price factor. The ease of scalability and setup is the second. Another significant reason behind the rat race of adopting cloud computing technology is the recession. The companies which have been hit by the wave have realized that by clinging on to the cloud, they can get access to some kick ass business applications and can drastically boost their infrastructure resources, all at a negligible cost.
Cloud computing incorporates providing software, platform and infrastructure as-a-service. Wikipedia has a classic definition of what is cloud computing.
Cloud computing is a style of computing in which dynamically scalable and often virtualized resources are provided as a service over the Internet. Users need not have knowledge of, expertise in, or control over the technology infrastructure in the "cloud" that supports them.
This looks to be a perfect solution wherein you pay-as-you-go. For small and medium scale enterprises, this makes sense. Rather than buying the entire hardware or the software library, they may prefer to pay the service provider using a pay per license model.
Cloud computing is already termed as one of the most hyped technologies of this year.
Moving along, the most debatable issue with the cloud has been the security. Hosting a company's data over the cloud can be an invitation to a security breech. At the RSA Conference held earlier this year, there were mixed opinions on the adoption of cloud computing. While a few speakers were excited about the technology while others were skeptical about the fact that moving to a world where large chunks of confidential data get hosted on small and confined datacentres would indicate a possible attack by the hackers and hence a catastrophe.
However, looking it with a different frame, most startups and medium scale enterprises are not sufficiently strong enough to protect their data and servers. Attacks like DDOS almost break the backbone of the network for long hours. Hosting the data with comparatively large houses like Amazon, Google, XCalibre, Joyent, Bungee, etc. can probably be safe on that front as these giants have much better shield and ammunition.
Apart from the attack there are other reasons which need to be taken care of before rushing to enroll a saas product. One of the many reasons as reported by ComputerWeekly is,
"Regulatory or legal requirements are often forgotten, and this can expose businesses using cloud computing to unnecessary risk" says Andrew Scott, partner at law firm Dickinson Dees.
John Chambers, Chairman and CEO at Cisco Systems said,
"You'll have no idea what's in the corporate data center. That is exciting to me as a network player. Boy am I going to sell a lot of stuff to tie that together." Meanwhile, he added, "It is a security nightmare and it can't be handled in traditional ways."
There are various virtues of looking at the cloud computing business model. However, there is still some time for it to graduate to see a large number of big organizations chaining themselves to the cloud.