Cloud Computing and the Indian Government
By Kamal Jacob
Cloud computing is one of the greatest revolutionary changes in the history of technology. Since the dawn of the computing era, every organization had an on-premises data center. They have their own computer systems, storage, and networking facilities. They would run any application on top of these systems, this classic representation of enterprise computing. Cloud computing is basically an on-demand computing resource which is being provided to the users over a virtual online network. The scope of cloud computing is endless in terms of development and technological advancement.
The cloud computing technology can aid the Indian government to implement educational, social, and economic reforms in the country. Moreover, cloud computing can set down as a base for a whole new revolutionary industry including telemedicine, online classrooms, online employment, and a potential commerce based industry that would generate employment for the emerging youth of the nation.
The role of cloud computation in bridging existing government limitation
One of the limitations correlated with the traditional IT architectural approach is the physical server model. These physical servers have the inability to process all the request due to the growing demands on the go and cause slow response time or either the additional server that are purchased to meet the demands remains idle for long due to normal usage. This over/under utilization of servers results in the wastage of valuable resources. On the other hand, the cloud provides optimum utilization by the pay as you go approach and thus proves to be cost efficient by reducing the capital expenditure. The advantage of cloud computing architecture is that it provides rapid elasticity and scalability. Its on-demand functionality allows to scale its capacity automatically whenever required and hence proves to be flexible enough to accommodate the sudden spikes in the usage demand.
The Potential transformation laid down by cloud computing on the Indian Government
Cloud computing holds the key to reform the very basic structure of operations in the Indian government. Major countries across the globe such as Australia, US, Singapore, UK, and EU utilize the benefits of cloud computing with the aim to increase agility, eliminate redundancy, share information and optimize communication technology at economic costs. The GI cloud initiative by the Indian government was one such step that aimed at bridging the gap between the government and the citizens and by delivering prompt e-services to its citizens. The Potential transformation that the Indian government can yield by implementing cloud services is Transparent and rapid information delivery system; optimum infrastructure utilization; higher employment opportunities and Global economic integration. Cloud computing services: Software as a Service (SaaS); Infrastructure as a Service (IaaS) and Platform as a Service (PaaS) have been successfully utilized by NIC under the MeghRaj cloud initiative portal. The Government of India deployed this cloud computing platform which is used by center and state government departments and agencies. It is an initiative of the Ministry of Electronics and Information Technology(MeitY). During MeghRaj a common platform called eGov App store was also introduced to host and run the application. It is easily customizable and configurable without much time and effort and available for reuse. For instance, the RTI (Right to Information) also faced challenges in performances prior to the cloud due to huge number of users requests and inability to process all of them, this caused application downtime. Adopting the cloud services provided efficient performance due to scalability and proper utilization of resources
The evolution of cloud computing has opened numerous paths toward development and transformation. The introduction of cloud computing was a rather rapid development, leaving people with scarce time to equip themselves with the skill set required to understand and operate the dynamics of cloud computing. Therefore, the Indian government should implement nationwide training programs to prepare potential trainees for the development of cloud computing.
The rationale behind the deployment of Cloud technology
In today's digital era the cloud computing technologies are the game changer in any of the businesses across industries and it is hence creating a new benchmark in relentlessly providing cost-effectiveness and business innovation by delivering hosted services through the internet. There is no doubt on how this technology is gaining popularity and growing day by day as most of the private sector in India has already adapted and started building on the power of cloud computing. Hence, it also provides an opportunity for the Indian government to embrace the change with this technological innovation and explore the limitless possibilities that cloud offers.
Conversely, cloud computing can prove to be a challenging rendezvous if it is not implemented with robust security mechanisms. The technology is not free from perils and associates itself with some key security risks and limitations. Data security possess as a key concern in the execution of cloud computing. The privacy and security control of the user's personal data is exposed to vulnerabilities through third-party servers. Consequently, it is crucial to encrypt every third party data server passage in order to value the privacy of cloud users. An additional threat to cloud computing is a cyber attack. The concept of cyber attack goes hand in hand with online data storage and processing. Cyber threats such as bot malware, virtual machines, and brute force attacks are a common endeavor in online data processing. Hence, it is essential to reap the benefits of cloud computing with high-end security measures and complex concealed programming that is updated on a regular basis.
Potential Mishaps that can take place if cloud computing is not leveraged
The cutting edge technology plays a vital role in the digital transformation and growth of our nation and it also supports the digital India mission. In a country of a population of over a billion people, there is a growing need to manage the enormous amount of data and also make them voluntarily available to the citizens through digital cloud services. But the implementation at this level would require the infrastructure to be scalable enough along with a very strong and robust technology stack that is itself capable of managing and quickly deliver the right resources during this massive inflow and outflow of data effortlessly. Hence the cloud has a very essential role in facilitating this change and fulfilling the storage capacity, application performance and compute requirements. They will act as building blocks in the development of the country.
Cloud servers are almost entirely dependent on functional data services. The business/government organization utilizing cloud server can suffer an irreparable data loss if the cloud servers crash even for a short period of time. Therefore, the government needs to develop a layered mechanism that protects the cloud data server from crash and undertake preventative measure for potential mishaps.
The evolution of Cloud computing has taken the world by storm. The idea of cloud computing provides scalability, flexibility, data centralization, agility, high performances, security and cost/time efficacy. Conversely, it lacks a proper governance system that guides the policies and procedures implemented in the utilization of cloud computing assets. At present, the cloud-based system does not allow complete operation infrastructural access that poses as a key limitation for IT to provide effective governance and compliance management. Therefore the need to implement key modifications in the IT governance strategy is crucial in order to deliver the best possible cloud computing system with minimal challenges and uncertainties.
In a developing nation like India, the government is considered as active if it is agile and can keep up with the growing demands and expectation of its citizens with the help of its services and computing capabilities. The information technology can help in this prospect by delivering the services that boost the government initiatives and at the same time keep the infrastructure unsophisticated and straightforward. The cloud has exhibited the potential to be cost-effective and flexible when it comes to digitizing the governance systems. The world is open to possibilities and it is an immense opportunity for India to lead the front of the technological innovation and encourages the government to embrace this change by adopting the cloud computing revolution for economic growth and to enrich the lives of its people. Subsequently, the fragility of cloud servers poses a potential threat to the invariability of cloud computing. As a result, it is immensely crucial that the cloud servers are strategically programmed through layered securities and dynamic coding mechanisms. Moreover, the Indian government should invest its resources in order to devise an optimal strategy to utilize the best of cloud computing with minimal security and control risks.