Annex A - Cloud Computing
There is a lot of confusion and misunderstanding of what cloud computing means to individuals and organisations. To enable greater understanding and consistency in the language used, the Scottish public sector will adopt the US Government's National Institute of Standards and Technology ( NIST) definition of Cloud Computing.
"Cloud computing is a model for enabling ubiquitous, convenient, on-demand network access to a shared pool of configurable computing resources ( e.g., networks, servers, storage, applications, and services) that can be rapidly provisioned and released with minimal management effort or service provider interaction. This cloud model is composed of five essential characteristics, three service models, and four deployment models."
The definitions used are intended to help those discussing cloud computing to develop a consistent framework of understanding, with common frames of reference and simple taxonomies. These are not intended to prescribe or constrain any particular method of deployment, service delivery, or business operation. A fuller explanation of the cloud model components can be found on the NIST website or in the Scottish public sector cloud policy, which can be found at the Digital Public Services web page for data hosting and data centres.
Advantages of Cloud Computing
Cloud computing offers numerous advantages both to end users and organisations of all sizes. One of the biggest advantages is that you would no longer have to support some or all of your ICT infrastructure. As this responsibility is removed it allows organisations to focus on their core business. Some of the other benefits include: reduced costs, scalability, energy efficient, more resilient and quicker deployment.
Cloud Computing- Challenges to Consider
As made clear from the above, cloud computing is a tool that offers enormous benefits to its adopters. However, being a tool, it also comes with some challenges when deploying in a public sector environment. Some of the challenges organisations must consider include: security and privacy, vendor tie in and other contractual agreements.