Academic journal article Global Economic Observer

Cloud Computing Services: Benefits, Risks and Intellectual Property Issues *

Academic journal article Global Economic Observer

Cloud Computing Services: Benefits, Risks and Intellectual Property Issues *

Article excerpt

1. Introduction

The present article proposes an analysis of cloud computing services and an assessment of their main benefits and risks, given the essential features and characteristics of cloud computing and the particularities of services in this field. The first objective is to carry out a concise literature review on this topic in order to briefly summarize the main definitions and theoretical perspectives on cloud computing and also the main benefits and risks of cloud computing services; the second objective is to realize a more elaborate and particularized analysis concerning one central issue related to cloud computing services: the impact of intellectual property legislation - especially court ruling in patent and copyright cases - on standardization and interoperability in cloud computing services. A more detailed summary of the article is the following: (a) define the concept of cloud computing, pointing the main features; define and exemplify the principal types of cloud computing services: Infrastructure as a Service (IaaS), Platform as a Service (PaaS), and Software as a Service (SaaS); (b) analyse the main benefits of cloud computing services; (c) and the potential risks and challenges: security and privacy of data, vendor lock-in, lack of standards and interoperability, intellectual property issues; (d) Assess the impact of intellectual property legislation and court ruling in patent litigation in the field of cloud services.

2. Cloud Computing Definitions and Characteristics

2.1. Cloud Computing Definitions

The name "cloud computing" is essentially a metaphor. In order to properly define cloud computing it is necessary to explain what is really behind this metaphor. "The cloud" is a familiar cliché designating the Internet and often a cloud shape is used to represent Internet in a network diagram, abstracting underlying infrastructure, hardware and software. In very broad terms, according to Barry Sosinski, cloud computing refers to applications and services that run on a distributed network using virtualized computing resources based on pooled physical resources, partitioned as needed and accessed by common Internet protocols and networking standards (Sosinski 2011, 3-5).

There is no formal definition of cloud computing universally agreed by all IT specialists and academics, but nevertheless there are two main definitions that are being used by Cloud Community and also there are some key (defining) characteristics of cloud computing that are often emphasized by IT scientists.

First definition is provided by Ian Foster: cloud computing is a "large-scale distribution computing paradigm that it is driven by economies of scale, in which a pool of abstracted, virtualized, dynamically-scalable, managed computing power, storage, platforms and services are delivered on demand to external customers over the Internet" (Foster, Zhao, Raicu & Lu, 2008). The second definition is provided by Jeff Kaplan: cloud computing is a "broad array of web-based services aimed at allowing users to obtain a wide range of functional capabilities on "pay-as-you-go" basis that previously required huge hardware-software investments and professional skills to acquire. Cloud computing is the realization of the earlier ideals of utility computing without the technical complexities or complicated deployment worries" (Geelan, 2009).

Another more comprehensive definition of cloud computing is suggested by Mohan T.: cloud computing is "a techno-business disruptive model of using distributed large-scale data centers either private or public or hybrid offering customers scalable virtualized infrastructure or an abstracted set of services qualified by service level agreements (SLAs) and charged only by the abstracted IT resources consumed." (Buyya, Broberg & Goscinski 2011, 44)

2.2 Cloud Computing Nature and Characteristics

Given cloud computing definitions mentioned above, we may infer some of the essential features of cloud computing and also the special character of cloud computing services. …

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