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Pros and Cons of Cloud Computing

Pros and Cons of Cloud Computing

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Published by Mark William

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Published by: Mark William on Jul 03, 2012
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The Pros and Cons of Cloud Computing in Healthcare
Abstract.
This paper will discuss details about the positive and negative impactof cloud computing with regards to its implementation in healthcare andinformation technology. The main supporting material that will be used for this
 paper is “Opportunities and Challenges of Cloud Computing to Improve HealthCare Services” by Alex Mu
-Hsing Kuo, PhD, from the University of Victoria.
Keywords.
Electronic Health Record, Cloud Computing, Healthcare, Positive,Negative, Impact
Introduction: An Overview
The model for cloud computing was born during the 1960s, and was based on the initial ideas of J.C.R. Licklider, who was involved with ARPANET and envisioned computation in a form of ashared global network, and John McCarthy, who
founded the term “artificial intelligence” and
 idealized that computation is a public tool and utility [1].
The term “cloud computing” literallymeans “internet computing”, where the cloud is a metaphor for the internet. The actual
term itself has been much debated over who really coined the term [2].With that said, Cloud computing serves as an on-demand, self-service Internet infrastructurethat allows the distribution and storage of data and hosting of different applications across differentservers. These servers could be located anywhere in the world, and can be access anywhere at anytime [3]. There are currently many applications of cloud computing that have already beendeveloped and are currently being worked on. These will be discussed in more detailed and as wellas the positive and negative effects they entail.
1.
 
Current Implementations
As indicated in Alex
Kuo’s paper 
 
of “Opportunities and Challenges of Cloud Computing toImprove Health Care Services”
, cloud computing includes 3 archetypal models. This includessoftware, platform, and infrastructure.1.
 
Software as a service (SaaS) allows applications to be hosted by a cloud service provider.These applications can be used by customers via the internet [4]. Popular examples of Software as a service applications include Survey Monkey,where one can create and share surveys and questionnaires online, andAncestry,where customers can look up their ancestry and lineage using the online application.2.
 
Platform as a service (PaaS) allows for development tools and solution stack to be hostedand delivered as an on demand service. Customers can create applications on the cloudusing tools that are available on online platforms. [5] Great examples of PaaS include
Google’s 
App Engine that enables developers to create Google applications online withouthaving to install necessary software on their own computer andWaveMaker,a visual development studio that allows for online development of Web 2.0 applications.3.
 
Infrastructure as a service (IaaS) allows for outsourcing of equipment that is needed tosupport operations in certain organizations. This equipment includes servers, networkingcomponents, and other hardware. The IaaS provider owns the hardware and is responsible
 
for the hardware’s housing and maintenance. Customer 
s avail of this service by means of subscription [6]. Examples of this include IBM and Amazon Web Services who provideservices by lending their servers to customers.There are also four deployment variations of cloud computing: public, private, community, andhybrid.1.
 
Public cloud
 – 
a cloud service that is made available to anyone in the world by itsproviders. Anyone can have access to this type of cloud. Some providers give out freeonline storage space such as Ubuntu One and Dropbox. To get more space, these providersare also asking for a monthly fee for customers to be able to have more storage space.2.
 
Private cloud
 – 
a cloud service that is solely used by individual organizations. Its servicesare only accessible to those who are in the same organization
 – 
much like a wirelessintranet.3.
 
Community cloud
 – 
a cloud service that is shared by two or more organizations.4.
 
Hybrid cloud
 – 
as the name suggests, is a combination of 2 or more clouds that could beprivate, public or community.
2.
 
Positive Impact of Cloud Computing in Healthcare
As demonstrated above, the applications of cloud computing to current industries are numerous.One of the most important industries that is making its way into integrating cloud computing withits current processes is healthcare. In healthcare, the ability to outsource hardware is verypromising considering how costly it is to buy rows and rows of servers and networking components.Cloud computing allows for a low cost approach. A newly opened hospital, for example, does nothave to deal with evaluating and purchasing the most effective and efficient hardware. This canspeed up deployment and, by eliminating infrastructure cost and additional fees for IT maintenance,can also lessen the burdens that are present during Electronic Health Record (EHR) adoption [7].With regards to security, there are differing opinions on whether cloud computing is safe or not.Due to the fact that it is accessible via the Internet, there is a tendency for people to think of issuesrelated to privacy. Although, cloud computing is not necessarily less secure than locally houseddata. Cloud service providers are very aware of the risks that are present and are devoted to solvingsecurity issues that may arise. Compared to locally housed data, IT services are responsible formaintaining the security of 
their organization’s
data centers besides other tasks such as integratingnew systems to their workflow. With cloud c
omputing, it is the provider’s responsibility to oversee
the safety and protection of the data that is being stored in their servers. It can also be noted thatsecurity measures are usually cheaper when implemented on a larger scale [8].Other advantages of cloud computing include easier collaboration since cloud servers can beaccessed anytime and anywhere; making it easier to collaborate with co-workers and employeesremotely. Cloud computing is also easily scalable providing more and more storage space forhospital data as it increases over time. Another is that it levels the playing field by allowing smallscale to mid-size hospitals
 – 
or any organization from any industry
 – 
access to more sophisticatedtechnology at lower and more cost-effective prices. [9]
3.
 
Negative Impact of Cloud Computing in Healthcare
The main problem area in integrating cloud computing in healthcare lies with privacy, security, andpolicies. As previously mentioned, there are differing opinions on whether cloud computing is safeor not. And although it has been stated that cloud computing is relatively safe, the risks are stillpresent and could possibly happen. The challenge for integrating any hospital with cloudcomputing is safeguarding patient information from possible risks fr
om “hackers attacks, network 

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