deployment of cloud computing, which is a revolutionary technology for hosting and delivering services over the Internet, is characterized with some major challenges and concerns for enterprises. A brief overview of the top five challenges for the enterprise in cloud computing is discussed in the article. This is followed by a detailed discussion of the available solutions to these challenges including improved security controls, finding a suitable cloud provider, enhanced enterprise infrastructure, and comprehensive implementation guidelines. The author then examines the benefits and limitations of these available solutions in dealing with the challenges. The analysis is followed by a discussion of a new solution to these issues and concerns as well as reasons for such solution.
Cloud computing has recently emerged as a ground-breaking model for hosting and delivering services over the Internet. This paradigm is engaging to business organizations since it removes the need for users to plan ahead for provisioning and enables enterprises to start from minimal and increase resources only when there is an increase in demand for service. However, the deployment and implementation of cloud computing for enterprises has been characterized with various challenges and security concerns. In essence, the successful deployment and cloud computing in an enterprise needs proper planning and understanding of the various emerging threats, risks, vulnerabilities, and potential counter-measures. As there are top five challenges in cloud computing for the enterprise, there are various available solutions with varying benefits and limitations, which necessitate the development of a new solution.
Cloud Computing Concept:
As previously mentioned, cloud computing has recently emerged as a pioneering model for hosting and distributing services over the Internet. Actually, the model entails sharing resources on a huge scale through a value effective and location independent process. While the resources on the cloud are deployed by the seller, they are utilized by the consumer (Belamkar, 2014). Cloud computing is very beneficial to organizations and companies because it is engaging to business organizations and gets rid of the necessity for users plan ahead for provisioning. It also enables enterprises to start from little and increase resources when it is necessary i.e. increase in service demand.
The significance of cloud computing is increasing on a daily basis as the concept is increasingly receiving attention in scientific and industrial communities or sectors. This trend is fueled by the maturity of the concept from a promising business model to one of the rapidly growing segments of the Information Technology business. Some of the major benefits that make cloud computing an attractive model include optimization of a business' capital investment, simplicity and quickness of operations and use, and enabling an enterprise to tap into a talent pool (Mahmood & Hill, 2011, p.5). The other benefits include enabling small businesses to access IT services and resources, provision of complex and novel computing architectures, and developing a mechanism for disaster recovery and business continuity. Cloud computing consist built-in benefits of availability, efficiency, and high utilization. Consequently, it promotes innovation, cost savings, simplicity, agility, and flexibility.
Top Five Challenges for the Enterprise in Cloud Computing:
Despite the provision of numerous opportunities to the IT business and business organizations, cloud computing is associated with various challenges for the enterprise. Most of these challenges were initially attributed to the fact that the concept was at its infancy stage. However, cloud computing has matured today from an operational perspective with regards to the delivery of strategic and tactical value expected (Hill, Hirsch, Lake & Moshiri, 2012, p.270). Nonetheless, business organizations that are unwilling to learn from the hyper-cycle history do not reap the benefits and will ultimately have difficulties in thriving and surviving. In contrast, organizations that are capable to adopt and create their business model are capable of developing and providing value in ways that enable them to gain competitive advantages.
As previously mentioned, the deployment of cloud computing in an enterprise infrastructure is accompanied with significant security concerns and challenges. While business organizations have carried out proper planning and attempted to understand emerging risks, vulnerabilities, and threats, cloud computing is still linked with some major security concerns. Business organizations have experienced and will continue to undergo various system losses in this cloud computing era because of the inherent risks associated with deploying the process in an enterprise infrastructure. The numerous system losses continue to have considerable effects on organizations' most valuable information and asset (Bisong & Rahman, 2011, p.30). The inherent risks and concerns are partly attributed to the fact that Cloud Computing is constantly evolving. An analysis of various studies about cloud computing challenges for the enterprise shows that the top five challenges include service quality, real benefits or business outcomes, security and privacy, integration, and performance or inadequate responses over network.
Enterprises state that service quality is one of the major factors for their reluctance to shift their business applications to cloud. They argue that the Service Level Agreements offered by the providers of cloud are currently insufficient to guarantee the needs for running production applications. These agreements are inadequate when associated with scalability, availability, and performance. While enterprises get compensation for the time the service was down, the existing Service Level Agreements do not cover business loss. Due to lack of proper service quality guarantee, enterprises are increasingly reluctant to host their critical business infrastructure in cloud computing.
Regardless of the various case studies and analysis that demonstrate the benefits emerging from implementation of cloud technologies, a huge number of customers are still not convinced regarding the potential benefits. Enterprises have expressed concerns regarding the ability to realize the full potential of the investment and incorporate cloud as part of the mainstream Information Technology Portfolio. Therefore, business organizations need an actual view of the real benefits of cloud computing instead of being provided with information about its potential to add value. This implies that return on investment models on cloud should incorporate specific metrics of conventional IT with cloud computing solutions. Such models should show real benefits in terms of compliance, time, profitability improvement, cost, quality, and revenue.
The other top challenge for the enterprise with regards to cloud computing is performance or inadequate responsiveness over network. This is challenge because the provision of complex services through network is clearly impossible if the network does not have adequate bandwidth. Since most of the existing cloud computing infrastructures have limited or minimal bandwidth, their performance is characterized with inadequate responsiveness over network. In addition, most of the existing cloud applications are relatively very bandwidth intensive ("Top 5 Challenges to Cloud Computing," 2011). Therefore, man enterprises and business organizations are waiting for better bandwidth and reduced costs before considering shifting into the cloud.
Enterprises also have integration challenges given the complexity of many cloud computing applications. Actually, these applications have multi-faceted integration requirements to connect to other cloud applications and other on-premise applications. Some of the major integration challenges occur in relation to integrating current cloud computing applications with existing data structures and applications in the enterprise.
The fifth and most significant concern or challenge that enterprises or business organizations encounter is security and privacy. Data security and privacy challenges rank as the highest concern in the deployment and implementation of cloud computing applications. Since this paradigm represents a seemingly new model for computing, it is characterized considerable uncertainty regarding the achievement of security at all levels. Security and privacy issues also emerge from the fact that cloud computing brings a new level of risk since important services are usually outsourced to a third-party. The outsourcing makes it difficult for enterprises to maintain data integrity and privacy, show compliance, and sustain the availability of data and service. Security challenges and concerns are associated with risk areas including lack of control, reliance on public Internet, external data storage, and amalgamation with internal security (Hashizume, Rosado, Fernandez-Medina & Fernandez, 2013).
In light of the top challenges for the enterprise in cloud computing, there are various available solutions that have been developed to address these challenges and concerns. These available solutions are geared towards enhancing the performance and effectiveness of cloud computing applications and models. Some of these available solutions include
Identification of an Appropriate Cloud Provider:
The first solution towards dealing with the major security challenges in cloud computing is the identification of a suitable cloud provider or vendor. An enterprise can significantly lessen these challenges through finding a suitable cloud provider or vendor. The need to identify an appropriate cloud provider is attributed to the fact that different vendors have varying cloud data management and IT security. Some of the characteristics of a suitable cloud vendor include compliance with standards and regulation and having adequate experience in the delivery of cloud computing applications.
Improved Security Controls:
Cloud providers have attempted to address the numerous security challenges and concerns through developing various security controls. Generally, security controls in cloud computing applications and models is largely similar to security controls in any Information Technology environment. These controls are similar with regards to operational models and the…