by Dr. Kennedy Amofa

*Editor’s Note: CC Biz Buzz is a monthly column series that features insightful commentary from a member of the Columbia College Robert W. Plaster School of Business faculty.

Two or more decades ago, individuals and organizations relied primarily on hard-drive technology to store most of their data with the challenges of constraining, limited capabilities and great expense. However, in the 21st-century business environment, cloud computing technology has rendered hard-drive technology obsolete. This technology has enabled cloud service providers, including Amazon cloud Service, Salesforce, and Microsoft, to offer a different range of services to meet clients’ specific needs. Cloud computing enables companies to share data and collaborate effectively to solve complex world issues; Pfizer and BioNTech came up with next the generation immunotherapy for COVID19 vaccines in such a manner.

For the same reason, cloud computing provides the opportunity for multinational corporations, small local businesses, and individual end-users to harness the power of advanced technology to meet the challenges of the dynamic global market. Cloud computing technology complements and enhances emerging technologies, including artificial intelligence, augmented reality, the Internet of Things, machine learning, analytics, mobile technology, social enterprise, and cybersecurity.

Mobile cloud computing uses wireless technologies to create a robust computing environment to enable continuous connectivity with the tremendous speed of 5G networks. With this agile computing environment, companies can benefit from reduced costs to scale and deploy their business models quickly globally. Cloud computing provides companies and clients the capabilities to access computing resources from anywhere and on any compatible device.

Dr. Kennedy Amofa
Dr. Kennedy Amofa

As we create voluminous data – both structured and unstructured, especially with our smart devices – cloud computing leverages various technologies to provide platforms, services, and infrastructure to multiple users and business organizations. They provide storage for data and software platforms to support databases, servers, and networking

Cloud computing provides instant access to advanced technology architecture for small businesses with pay-as-you-go pricing instead of investing significant capital to acquire and maintain advanced technology infrastructure. To illustrate this point, The CEO of Zoom Eric Yuan, amid the COVID19 pandemic, used Amazon Web Services to scale its global operations from 10,000 to 300,000 daily users. Multinational companies are using cloud technology to gain competitive intelligence to enhance the effectiveness and efficiency of their business models.

Cloud technology provides secure storage for pictures, videos, and other essential family documents for individual households. Companies like Yahoo and Dropbox are affordable, convenient, and customers can easily share memories with relatives and friends across multiples social media platforms instantly.

Although cloud service companies assure clients of data security and privacy protection, the public’s primary concerns are continuous data breaches compromising customers’ data. The issue of hackers using cloud computing to infiltrate computer systems serves as a threat to national security. The current Colonial Pipeline ransomware cyber-attack and its economic implications on U.S. fuel supply calls for urgent attention to cloud security infrastructure worldwide.

Another problem is the openness and interoperability of cloud services advanced by various organizations. This process makes the computer systems more vulnerable to attacks from Russia, Iran,  China and others to steal sensitive data for sale in the black market or request ransomware. The incidents of top government officials and celebrities having sensitive data exposed publicly forces people to consider keeping their data on private hard drives.

With all these challenges, service providers use data encryption and tokenization. They are coordinating with cybersecurity experts to provide safe and secure computing environments for businesses to thrive. Open-source programming helps researchers, academics, business leaders, cyber-security experts, and systems analysts to collaborate and share intelligence about potential threats to our computer systems and power grids.

Although cloud computing, like any other technology, presents specific challenges, it is crucial to understand that this technology will help our generation to attain significant scientific breakthroughs in future endeavors. These might include space exploration for vacation on Mars, genomics for cancer therapy, and Big Data to address climate change. Cloud computing can foster advanced research studies into innovative technologies to improve our lives and our existence on this planet.

Dr. Kennedy K. Amofa is an assistant professor of Business Administration at Columbia College. He currently teaches both MBA and undergraduate courses in management and organizational development. For the previous 12 years, he worked as an IT systems analyst supporting IBM’s global manufacturing operations in Rochester, Minnesota. He is passionate about advanced research studies in emerging internet technologies and business analytics.