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Cloud computing has become a preferred way of delivering computing service in small corporations. Managers and leaders believe that the implementation of cloud computing services improves company operations. In healthcare, cloud computing improves health care research, delivery, and health information technology. Benefiting from the opportunities, cloud computing has to be effectively leveraged into practice. Effective implementation requires thorough evaluation before its adoption. Small companies in the healthcare sectors should focus on being innovative and keeping in phase with modern technological changes. The paper discusses on the challenges and opportunities of cloud computing in small companies. The four aspects selected for evaluation are technology, security, legal and management. The aspects will guide the analysis of the cloud computing model in small corporations.
Overview of cloud computing
Cloud computing is a self-service connectivity infrastructure that facilitates access to computing services anytime and at any place based on demand. The modern technology has advanced the model. Examples of the commonly used cloud computing applications in the business sector are Google Docs and Hotmail. In the healthcare industry, the most used applications are the Google Health platform, Microsoft Health Vault among many others (Bieber et al. 110). Cloud computing offers massive computing services based on client demand, short-term payment processing, elimination of upfront user commitments and ensuring efficiency in operations. Cloud computting applications have been used in education, national security, transportation among other sectors.
Healthcare is a sensitive sector which requires devotion and efficiency in operations. The sector requires continuous and systematic innovation just like the other sectors. The most successful companies in the modern competitive environment of operation are that can improve on customer service, employee interaction and keep in phase with the technological changes. Companies in the healthcare sector need to be effective. Innovation and creativity help companies remain cost-effective, efficient and importantly offers quality healthcare services. Research indicates that the adoption of cloud computing among companies in the healthcare sector improves health care research, healthcare delivery, and information and communication technology. Cloud computing can reduce electronic health records (HER) start-up costs (Al-Rousan 62). The start-up expenses include networking, personnel, hardware, licensing fees, and software among others. Cloud computing can minimize data handling problems, interaction barriers, health research problems among other complexities encountered by small institutions in the healthcare sector. Despite the benefits of cloud computing there exists problems which should be addressed. The key issues hindering the adoption of cloud computing among small companies include legal, managerial, technology and security concerns.
Adoption of cloud computing
Research indicates that the potential benefits of cloud computing depend on the model selected for implementation. In the case of the small healthcare institutions, the cloud-based system can be implemented to automate the process of client identification and patient data collection. The collected patient information can be made available to health practitioners through network sensors. The cloud-based system enables data storage, processing, distribution and retrieval (Al-Rousan 59). The approach eliminates manual data collection, which is prone to errors. Another research recommends for the adoption of the cloud computing protocol system. Cloud computing protocol management system offers signal detection and processing, thus improving the security payments information. In the business, the cloud computing protocol system can be implemented to detect data threats and other malpractices (Kushida and Pingali 28). The system has been beneficial in helping small healthcare institutions which lack financial muscles to use physical security measures. The software has been used to help healthcare institutions in offering mobile healthcare services. The approach detects utilization of suspicious mobile devices, thus improving service delivery and system protection. The intervention has improved healthcare services to individuals in marginalized areas.
Another cloud computing system recommended for use in small corporations is the Dhatri. Dhatri enables physicians the ability to interact with patients anytime at any place. The software has been implemented by medium-sized enterprises to improve customer interaction (Khan 73). Customers do not have to visit the physical offices. They can assess whichever services they need via the internet. Small healthcare institutions in the rural areas can network with the large companies to improve on health care delivery in their Ares. Through Dhatri doctors can offer solution to patients at any place provided that the patient or client is connected to the system.
Cloud computing has been used to improve order processing and activity scheduling among small business in the healthcare sector. Company suppliers can easily network with firms to ensure that ordering processes are made effectively. Medium sized business has been able to interact with customers. Customers require online services which allow product showcasing, order processing and delivery to their residential areas (Khan 72). Regardless of the size, companies have to improve on customer interaction. In the healthcare sector firms can now store client health records online. The move ensures easy access and retrieval of health records. Cloud computing has revolutionized small business in the healthcare sector.
Cloud Computing Opportunities and Challenges
Research indicates 80% of companies rely on cloud computing to disseminate information and interact with employees and customers in the workplace. The percentage is forecasted to improve due to the improvement of technology. The number of customers using mobile phones to subscribe to cloud computing applications is also increasing (Pramod and Muppalla 59). In the healthcare sector managers, supervisors and physicians believe that cloud computing improves health service delivery. The 21st-century employees are spending quality time in cloud computing applications interacting with firms, placing orders among other services (Kuo 67). Through the platform, organizations can keep in touch with the business. Small corporations have benefited from the introduction of cloud computing in operations.
Cloud computing software should be scrutinized before its adoption. Close evaluation helps the firm to implement the best software which can maximize business operations. A summary of the challenges and opportunities of cloud computing is given below. The opportunities and limitations will only focus on technology, management, management, and legality aspects.
Offers lower cost modern IT infrastructure for small business
Offers on-demand computing services
Improved management efficiency and customer interaction.
Lack of trust from management
Destabilizing organizational operations
Management may lose control over critical operations.
Uncertainty in the provider’s compliance.
Cloud computing offers more resources for data protection.
Increases data and information security through replication of data in multiple locations (Buyya 34).
Cloud computing strengthens company resilience though dynamically scaled defensive resources.
Imposes bottlenecks in the data control
Bugs in large-scale distributed cloud systems.
Covers the entire organization and cannot be split into specific areas of operation.
Cloud computing software improves customer information protection.
The software guarantees the privacy of company and client information.
Builds trusted technology platform in conformity to set legal regulations.
Cloud computing is associated with poor encryption issues
Data jurisdiction problems
Privacy has been compromised
Cloud computing is a low-cost software which can be afforded by small firms. A firm can quickly get access to cost-effective on-demand software which improves on their operations. Most of the software does not require user IT training and staffing. Small and medium-size corporations do not need to deploy or alter their structures to accommodate the cloud computing software. The primary challenge with cloud computing is that it lacks trust from management (Bieber et al. 76). Managers need assurance that security and privacy will be maintained. Its implementation can destabilize the operations and management control. Organization culture change resistance is another issue. Small companies need to maintain the status quo.
Small firms do not have to train staffs in implementing high management and control software. Cloud computing is a cost-efficient technology application which does not need a lot of staffing and training. The application does not impose extra cost to the organization. It is energy saving and does not require a lot of maintenance (Kushida and Pingali 23). The application improves organizational operations, keeping in phase with modern technological changes. The fundamental technological limitations of cloud computing include the unpredictability of performance, the bottleneck in data control among others.
Cloud computing improves data security in organizations. Cloud computing providers can allocate resources in solving security issues operations. Customers can keep the company updated on security concerns which can threaten the operations of the company (Mishra 147). Large corporations like Google, Amazon, and Microsoft have been successful in the implementation of cloud computing. Cloud computing providers can replicate user’s data in a variety of areas, thus improving data interdependence and redundancy in cases of system failure. It becomes easy to recover from system disasters (Buyya 54). The potential risks are hacker attacks, natural disaster, privilege abuse, and public management interface challenges. Like any other system, fraudsters can hack company systems and interfere with operations.
Data privacy is a requirement according to governmental laws. Organizations regardless of their size have to ensure that client privacy and confidentiality are guaranteed. Cloud computing helps companies secure client information. Its adoption requires clear policies and procedures to govern its implementation. Cloud computing offers a framework for companies to comply with government privacy and confidentiality (Karadsheh and Alhawari 119). For example, the Cloud Security Alliance has developed guidelines for addressing privacy and security issues in adopting cloud computing into practice. The critical challenges of cloud computing in legal aspects are data jurisdiction, intellectual property rights, contract law among other issues.
Discussion and conclusion
Cloud computing software helps small business improve on customer service delivery. The application can be assessed by small business at low prices. It offers efficiency in information technology services and users. In the healthcare sector small as well as large hospitals can apply cloud computing to improve on Electronic Health Records (HER), health services and improvement in research. The approach guides business to be innovative and keep updated with the modern technological changes. The software has improved service delivery, customer interaction, data security, disaster recovery among other opportunities.
Despite the many opportunities offered by cloud computing, there are still challenges hindering adoption of cloud computing. The primary challenge as discussed is the resistance in adopting cloud computing. Many institutions and especially the small-scale business wants to maintain the stability of their operations. They hold a perception that cloud computing will destabilize their operations. The best way to improve on adoption of cloud computing is the development of policies and practices (Karadsheh and Alhawari 121). The policies and guidelines help in building trust in cloud computing applications. Legal issues can be addressed by ensuring compliance to set regulations governing customer’s data handling and protection.
Avoiding the challenges associated with cloud computing companies should do an environmental evaluation. The evaluation can be structured on internal and external environment aspects. The key issues of focus are budget, technology, the culture of the organization, government policies and staffing (Savu 654). The analysis ensures that the software selected best fits in the organizational operations. Blind adoption can destabilize organizational operations, thus threating its future success.
In conclusion, cloud computing offers management and operation opportunities for small business. The applications are easily assessable by small and medium-size corporations at low prices. Implementation is also economical as it does not require training and specialized staffs. In order to best adopt cloud computing into operations and benefit from the many opportunities, firms have to do a comprehensive evaluation.
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