Among the variety of modern achievements in the IT area, certain technologies are of the greatest interest. The main success driver for the technology is practicality within the scope of business needs; thus, the companies tend to employ the most suitable solutions. This paper addresses the recent trends of the corporate IT market and evaluates the key technologies that are likely to dominate over the next few years. One of the emerging technologies, a cloud computing, is explained along with the methodology for its implementation.
The growing computerization brings the increased demand for data communication between all types of devices. With this regard, the wireless computer networking is definitely one of the most successful technologies that have changed many professional environments. The most popular wireless networking technology is presented by the IEEE 802.11 data communication standard, more commonly known as Wi-Fi. The technology provides an increased flexibility compared to the traditional networks and facilitates the use of portable devices. The main concern with the Wi-Fi technology is the network security, as some of the encryption algorithms have proved to be vulnerable to the hackers’ attacks. However, with the introduction of WPA2 (Wi-Fi Protected Access v. II) security mechanism the issue was successfully solved (Rackley, 2011, p. 219).
The numerous portable devices, such as lightweight laptops and tablets, represent another technology hat has won its way into the business and society. According to Tatnall (2007), these devices in combination with “…the establishment of Internet and portal technology as the standard way for information exchange, entertainment, and communication, have created a new scenery that is characterized by access to data “anywhere”, “anytime”, and by “anyone”” (p. 1033). The growing popularity of the Android operating system, specifically developed for the portable devices, makes the technology as user-friendly as the convenient Windows-based PCs.
While portable devices with Wi-Fi communication benefit diverse consumer categories, the cloud computing is relatively new technology, targeted at the business needs of various middle-sized and large companies. The approach of the cloud computing follows the global outsourcing trend, complementing the expertise outsourcing with handing over the part of the company’s IT infrastructure. There are three types of the cloud computing: Software as a Service (SaaS), Platform as a Service (PaaS), and Infrastructure as a Service (IaaS). In case of the SaaS model, the company uses certain software as a remote service without storing any data at the service provider facilities. The PaaS approach implies the use of a whole platform, including the servers, storage, and administrative tools. The most complete outsourcing is taking place with the IaaS model, which nearly substitutes the corporate IT infrastructure (Jamsa, 2012, p. 8). In all three ccases, the company shares the environment with other companies; thus, security concerns are the most obvious barrier to this technology. Consequently, cloud computing requires strict IT security measures along with a heavy legal paperwork.
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The following example demonstrates the cloud computing implementation for the large insurance company. The assumption is that the company uses the web-based “thin client” application for both front- and back-office activities. In this case, the migration will be painless from the users’ perspective, requiring the changes on the server part only. The main drivers for high CPU and memory consumption are the fees’ and commissions’ calculations. Therefore, the company will employ the PaaS model, outsourcing these calculations to the service provider platform. The implementation cost will depend on the level of customization required to interface the company’s IT resources with a cloud platform. The existing interfaces’ documentation should be sufficient for the service provider to develop necessary data gateways. Once the development is finished, the cloud platform will be populated with live company’s data and users could start using the new system. Of course, this scenario is simplified to the large extent; however, it gives the realistic feel of the cloud computing implementation. As an implementation result, the insurance company will save a considerable amount of funds that otherwise would be spent on the hardware upgrades and maintenance.