Cloud computing is one of the innovations of technological advancements in this technological era which is aimed at helping the IT industry a great deal hence helping in its operations (Rhoton, 2009).
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The traditional way of operation of IT and internet utility involved a person or company in question seeking for their own infrastructure, obtaining a platform on which to operate on the internet as well as developing software that they would utilize for their own internet activities (Slater, 1986).
They also had to provide management and maintenance services to all these utilities, a factor that made internet operations geared towards IT very expensive and tasking (Bloomberg, 2010). Worse still, one had to obtain fixed facilities online and had to pay for them irrespective of how much they were utilized. Cloud computing came to counter all these drawbacks of IT development (Jackson, 2009).
Cloud computing hence involves the utilization of hosted services online in such a manner that all the requirements of an individual or a company are catered for by an outside source and all that is required is payment for the services provided.
It involves outsourcing of the major and most expensive and tasking parts of running IT operations over the internet including utilizing outsourced infrastructure, software and platforms as well as utilizing outsourced services to manage and maintain those facilities (Sosinsky, 2011). All that is required of a person hence is a computer, internet connection and payment for the services rendered.
Better still, this method is very flexible since one only pays for the facilities and services provided hence it is very flexible and one can choose how much to utilize and how much to pay for at any given time (Knorr & Gruman, 2010).
Companies therefore need to utilize cloud computing in their operations so as to be able to operate more effectively and take advantage of the resources that are provided over the internet (Brophy & Craven, 2007).
This is the same case with Oxfam Austraia, an NGO that ha been in existence for around 60 years and has moved from Australia to the whole world offering humanitarian aid, instilling poverty-reduction strategies and responding to disasters.
The company has a very large network and through use of cloud technology, the company has been able to make its operations easer, though it still needs to realize strategies of full utilizing the technology.
Cloud computing involves different facilities being obtained over the internet by an organization instead of the organization having to purchase and manage them physically (Sosinsky, 2011). Hence, it works as a virtual source of these facilities that the company can still use in the same manner as if they were physically within the company premises (Knorr & Gruman, 2010).
Some of the facilities that a company obtains virtually over the internet include infrastructure that the company requires so as to operate online. A company requires such infrastructure as servers, receivers, and satellites as well as data conveyers so as to be able to carry out its operations online.
The infrastructure is very expensive to obtain and manage. However, through the method of cloud computing, a company is able to utilize the infrastructure virtually by “borrowing” them from a provider who has them installed. A company also requires software so as to operate online (Rhoton, 2009).
The software is used for management of the infrastructure and as a user interface. Software is very expensive to develop and maintain and hence is very costly for the company to obtain. However, a company can obtain the software required for its operations online from providers who charge a fee for its use and maintenance. This hence makes the work of the company very simple and cheap (Burns, 2001).
Also, for the company to operate online, it requires a platform on which to run its programs and operations. Obtaining a personal platform is very hard, expensive and tasking.
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However, the company has an option of obtaining a platform from a provider and utilizing only a part of it for their own personal use hence reducing on cost and time. Further, the company is able to obtain storage memory online from service providers and hence reducing on costs of obtaining physical memory within the company (Karlsson & Dahlberg, 2003).
Cloud computing technology has various advantages to the organization, making it the ideal method for the online operations of an organization. First, the method is very cheap compared to the traditional method due to the fact that the company does not need physical infrastructure and memory as well as its own software and platform. The company only pays for these facilities after using them and obviously this is cheaper.
Further, no facilities are wasted since the company only pays for what it uses. In addition, the company does not need to hire experts to manage and maintain these facilities since all these services are offered by the providers. It is important to note that previously, the company could spend large expenses on all these facilities irrespective of whether they are being fully utilized or not (Cabral, 2000).
The method also offers the company an option of customization such that, though different companies utilize the same facilities, each company has the facilities resembling its own needs and hence they all appear differently for the different companies. Furthermore, the facilities are flexible and keep advancing from time to time (Enzine, 2009).
Cloud computing also offers an option for either publicity or privatization. A company may be able to operate using the technology but within a given limit of users within the company hence obtaining privacy of information and data (Knorr & Gruman, 2010).
The storage memory offered online is usually unlimited and safe compared to use of physical memory. It is also easier to access from any place and at any time, unlike physical memory which may only be accessed at a given range, place and time (Rhoton, 2009).
The main disadvantage of cloud computing is that since it involves outsourcing of the company requirements and operations, the company does not have control of its operations and errors from a third party could result to great losses and implications on the organization.
Therefore, cloud computing is a technology that all companies with online operations should embrace in an effort to advance themselves as well as ensuring they take advantage of the facilities that are offered online instead of relying on traditional methods that are unsafe, slow, expensive, limited and inflexible (Rothman, 2003).
Oxfam Australia is a company dedicated to provision of humanitarian aid and relief services to communities around the world. The organization has a large network which utilizes the cloud technology in its organization and management. The organization hence has a private network which may be accessed by its staff so as to keep track of the progress of the company as well as the tracking of its programs in different countries.
However, the company has not fully utilized the technology and hence, with more investment, the company may be able to reduce its expenditure on progress-tracking software, accounting software, infrastructure for managing its website and online operations and on storage costs.
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