Posted: May 25th, 2022
Bahrain Ministries IT Service
Studying the Potential of Moving Bahrain Ministries IT Services Into Private Cloud Computing
Information technology (IT) is not only an important part of life for many people, but it is also a booming business (Amies, et al., 2012). One of the most significant steps IT has made in recent years is the advent of cloud computing. This is similar to the old style of storing information, where everything went to a central server, or mainframe (Voorsluys, Broberg, & Buyya, 2011). The technological advances that have been seen since then mean that the way the information is sent, stored, and retrieved has vastly improved from the original design. Now companies can store all their information off-site, yet they know that information is being kept safe and can be retrieved anytime (Amies, et al., 2012). This frees up their computers and keeps them from needing IT departments and expensive servers. Letting another company handle that for them can be a great use of their time and money, but only if they get a good deal and are happy with the results.
Technologies are evolving in ways that create many opportunities for companies and governments to change their current methods of providing IT services. Most of the governments shifted from centralized IT services (mainframes) to distributed models (client/server) in the late 1980s, for safety and security reasons (Tolk, 2006). These models were distributed and managed by small IT organizations located within each entity. Now, things are changing again and this time there is somewhat of a reversal in the model that governments want to use (Amies, et al., 2012). Cloud computing is offering an alternative way of managing IT and providing services for governmental entities like those in Bahrain. The opportunity is available to build a private cloud managed by a new centralized entity that can provide most of the common IT services and staffing needed to maintain and support this new model (Amies, et al., 2012; Cohn & Samuels, 2012).
The research that will be performed will challenge the current situation, which will allow for a careful examination of the evidence both for and against private cloud computing for the government of Bahrain. While these kinds of studies have been done before, there have not been any of these kinds of studies that have specifically been done where the Bahrain government is concerned. Since it is possible that the Government of Bahrain could have unique challenges or could be offered unique benefits from moving to private cloud computing, it is important to look at the background of cloud computing as well as the background of the entity that is considering making the switch to that type of computing. An assessment will also be necessary. This will be done in order to make a final decision as to whether to move forward with studying the main drivers behind moving to a private cloud. Additionally, the key advantages, disadvantages, and risks must also be clearly stated and addressed.
The problem that has to be addressed here has to do with the key challenges that must be overcome in order to move the Government of Bahrain IT system (or at least a part of it) to a private cloud computing system managed by a centralized IT organization. There are key benefits that could be realized by moving the Government of Bahrain IT system, but there are also inherent risks. Both of those issues have to be addressed in order to ensure that the best choice is made based on the recommendations of the researcher and the information presented. Moving all of the IT system naturally has different risk and benefits than moving only a part of the system, and the two issues are separate but related. Making sure they are both discussed is vital to the credibility of the study and the information provided by the researcher.
CHAPTER TWO: REVIEW OF THE LITERATURE
Reviewing the literature requires two distinct sections: one for information on IT and cloud computing, and one for information on Bahrain and its government. Without considering both of those areas, it would be difficult to make a complete study. The plan is to show whether the Government of Bahrain would be better served by moving all (or part) of its IT operations to a private cloud computing operation. It is not possible to make that determination without understanding the Government of Bahrain and without understanding the benefits and risks of cloud computing. Once the two areas have been thoroughly discussed, it will be possible for the researcher to consider what the best option for the Government of Bahrain would be when it comes to cloud computing and other IT options.
In cloud computing the information is stored off-site, on the servers of the cloud computing company, instead of on-site, on the servers of the business (Rochwerger, et al., 2009; Tolk, 2006). This can be done whether it is for an individual, a business, or even something as large and multifaceted as a government. Because of issues like accessibility and security, it is very important to understand how cloud computing works, along with all of the risks and benefits that can come from it. The use of computing services are not contained within the company, but are sent over a network (Amies, et al., 2012). Generally that network is the internet, but it can be another type of server or network, as well. A symbol shaped like a cloud is used to represent this type of computing, which is why it received the name “cloud computing.” While clouds are simple representations, the infrastructure that is used in this type of computing is very complex (Voorsluys, Broberg, & Buyya, 2011). The software, computation, and user data is all part of the remote services that are seen in the cloud.
While there are several different types of services that are part of cloud computing, most of them fall under the umbrella of public cloud computing (Voorsluys, Broberg, & Buyya, 2011). There is also private cloud computing, which would be what would be used by the Government of Bahrain. That is more secure, and can provide a better experience for the people who are in the government and who need to make sure that the data they send and receive is highly secure (Rochwerger, et al., 2009). It is not a good thing to let others get hold of the data a person has, because that data could be misused. Instead of taking that risk, it is important to focus on private options for cloud computing. That will protect the sensitive data more strongly than public cloud computing, but there are still security concerns that have to be addressed (Cohn & Samuels, 2012). The user (the government, individual, or business) has access only to his or her data even in public cloud computing, but the chance of hacking or an accidental mishap where other data is exposed is higher the more data is stored in the cloud (Amies, et al., 2012). By keeping that in mind, the business that needs the computing services can use that to its advantage and find the cloud computing company that is really right for it.
A web browser is used to provide cloud-based applications to a company that uses the cloud computing option (Amies, et al., 2012; Cohn & Samuels, 2012). It is as simple as logging onto a particular site and retrieving the needed information. That information is stored on a server, just like it would be if the company was storing it, but that server is located somewhere else (Amies, et al., 2012). It may be down the street, across the country, or across the world. There are many different options for cloud computing resources. Even though the majority are public, there are also some that are private – and it is these private options that would be best for any entity that has to be more careful about the information it stores (Cohn & Samuels, 2012; Rochwerger, et al., 2009). One of the best advantages to cloud computing is that everyone uses fewer resources (Amies, et al., 2012). This can be likened to an electric grid or other type of utility, because there is one central location through which each person or entity uses what he or she needs. That allows these entities to use fewer of their own resources, and also allows them to take up less space in their physical locations.
The concept of cloud computing is not a new one. It has been popular since the 1950s, albeit in a slightly different form (Amies, et al., 2012). Large mainframe computers were used to store all types of things throughout a company, and those mainframes were housed in just one room. That way the people who worked at the company did not have to have individual servers at their workstations. This served two purposes. First, the workstations could be smaller and less cluttered because a server was not needed there (Voorsluys, Broberg, & Buyya, 2011). Second, the information was all stored on one server so it could be shared very easily with everyone in the company (Voorsluys, Broberg, & Buyya, 2011). The idea of cloud computing is the same thing, but on a grander scale. Many companies can use the same server, but they are not able to access one another’s information. There are also cloud computing companies that use separate servers for each client, in order to provide a higher level of security (Amies, et al., 2012; Cohn & Samuels, 2012; Voorsluys, Broberg, & Buyya, 2011). This is the kind of security that would generally be desired by a government.
The Government of Bahrain
Bahrain’s government oversees several municipalities (Smart, Smith, & Pridham, 2004). There are also five different administrative governorates, each one of which has one governor in charge (Hoyland, 2001). The most important issues to consider about the Government of Bahrain, though, is that it is charged with the duty of watching over, controlling, and protecting the citizens of the country through several ministries (Faroughy, 1951; Houtsma, 1960). If it cannot do this effectively, there could be civil unrest, economic problems, or even war. The problems that could be seen in Bahrain could be very large, and those problems could also be difficult to deal with. Fortunately, there are many rules and regulations in place to help protect the government and the people. One area where the people have little control is over the data that the ministries collect and store (Smart, Smith, & Pridham, 2004). Whether that data has to do with the people specifically, or whether it has to do with governmental issues that are related to other aspects of the country, is not the issue. The issue is keeping that information safe (Hoyland, 2001; Smart, Smith, & Pridham, 2004).
However, the volume of data that is stored on the servers has become such that it is overwhelming for the ministries to handle in some cases (Smart, Smith, & Pridham, 2004). There is a cost that comes with this, of course, because the government has to pay IT people to keep the data safe and secure, along with paying them to keep the servers running properly and ensuring that there is enough space for proper data storage for future information (Hoyland, 2001). With that being the case, it is not surprising that the government has to pay more than it would like in order to make sure the data it has to store is kept safe and able to be accessed when necessary (Smart, Smith, & Pridham, 2004). If the government is able to provide that properly, there is no concern, but if the government is struggling to provide everything for safe and proper data access, then changes need to be made. This is the point that some of the ministries in the Government of Bahrain may have reached (Smart, Smith, & Pridham, 2004).
The government currently stores all of the data it collects and uses on its own servers (Smart, Smith, & Pridham, 2004). This is taking up a large amount of space and is also costing the government money in IT workers. Moving some or all of the data to servers that are located off-site could make a big difference to the government, but whether it is cost effective and safe enough for the data itself remains to be seen (Mojtahed-Zadeh, 1999). This is what the government will have to decide, and in order to do so it will need to take a careful look at all of the issues that it will face one way or the other. The choice is one that could have a serious affect on the quality of the data storage and protection of the Government of Bahrain for many years to come, so it is not a decision that the government should take lightly (Smart, Smith, & Pridham, 2004). The Government of Bahrain is often focused on its own dealings, but there is more to the equation than that.
Because cloud computing is similar to what has been used for many years but yet still different in some ways, it is vital that it is studied and understood by the Government of Bahrain carefully before any decision is made. However, it has been seen that cloud computing has worked well for individuals, businesses, and governmental entities in the past without excessive or unacceptable risk of issues such as data hacking or information being accessed by those who should not have access (Aimes, et al., 2012; Cohn & Samuels, 2012). From the early days of mainframe computers to the more modern cloud computing choices, it is possible for companies to handle their data storage, security, and retrieval far differently than they did in the past. This is both good and bad, and the risks and benefits that have to be considered can depend on the company or organization that is using the cloud computing. For some companies it makes perfect sense, while other companies may see too much risk involved. The Government of Bahrain has special issues that it has to address when switching over to cloud computing, and as such it may make sense to switch only certain parts of its data to a cloud computing format, while other parts of the data remains “in-house.” That can provide superior protection for sensitive data and still free up server and physical space.
CHAPTER THREE: METHODOLOGY
Any study needs a good methodology in order to be successful and provide the needed information upon which the researcher can base his or her conclusions. Without good information there is nothing to study, but without appropriate collection and analysis of the data, the study of any information will be flawed from the outset. The value of the information collected does not matter if it is mishandled once it has been accumulated by the researcher. In order to avoid these kinds of issues, it is vital that the methodology be planned out and discussed within the study. This also helps future researchers recreate the study if they choose to replicated it or expand on it in the future.
Because of the delicate nature of collecting information about the government of any country, it will not be possible to directly sample information from all of the ministries in the Government of Bahrain. Much of the data the government has is classified, and asking the government to tell a researcher where and how that data is stored is not realistic. However, a case study of three to five ministries will be conducted, and that study will be qualitative in nature. Background information for the study will come from a more thorough review of the literature, as well. Looking at what other governments have done and studying three to five ministries specifically will allow the researcher to make recommendations as to what the Government of Bahrain should do when it comes to cloud computing. If other governments have moved to cloud computing (either with all or part of their data), they can be examined, but that will not provide enough insight into Bahrain specifically. Adding three to five ministries from the Government of Bahrain into the equation as a case study will allow the researcher to do much more with the study.
There are several ways to collect data, but this study will utilize the case study method. The information collected will come from three to five ministries in the Government of Bahrain. Additional information will come from books, journals, professional and government websites, and related materials in order to get enough information for the researcher to draw conclusions. It is not possible to say that one ministry is exactly like another, but it is possible to find similar ministries for comparison and contrast. Using three to five ministries will provide for better comparisons between those ministries, as well as between those ministries and the other ministries in the Government of Bahrain. The collection of this kind of data should not be difficult, because the ministries studied do not work with highly classified information and the questions asked will not breach security of any kind. Working directly with people in the Government of Bahrain is ideal, but the researcher also acknowledges that some areas and information are highly classified. Safety and security are highly important for any government, and Bahrain is no exception. By collecting literature from past experiences with cloud computing and using the case study method to collect more information from three to five ministries in the current government, comparisons can be made and the researcher can draw conclusions from the collected data.
The data analysis for this study will be qualitative in nature, relying on the information collected from the case studies and a review of the literature into cloud computing and how it has been used in the past. Additionally, information will be collected about companies and governmental entities that have moved to cloud computing in order to determine whether they have seen success or whether they have struggled with the choice they made, so these can be compared against the three to five ministries examined for the case study. If they were not satisfied with their move to cloud computing, it will be necessary for the researcher to determine why that was the case. Having that piece of information will help the researcher when making recommendations as to the value of cloud computing for the Government of Bahrain.
Reliability and Validity
Without having reliability and validity in a study, it can be difficult to take the study seriously or accept the conclusions and recommendations provided by that study. Additionally, it is very important for those who want to replicate the study to know what theoretical framework was used and how the study was actually conducted. If the study follows a traditionally-accepted framework for studies of that type, it is more likely to be reliable and valid. This is not a guarantee, of course, and other issues must be considered. If the study is able to be easily replicated, that lends to its validity.
As with any study, there are limitations that have to be addressed. The first of those is that the study will have to be performed off of information from only three to five ministries along with information that has already been collected. The reason behind this is that the Government of Bahrain is not going to be highly forthcoming with information about its IT program, as a matter of national security, so the number of ministries that can be studies is limited. The second limitation is that there may not be a large number of studies written about governments or businesses that have switched over to cloud computing. With that in mind, the study can still provide a high level of good information about cloud computing and how it can help the Government of Bahrain to be more successful with the protection and storage of its data in the future.
Amies, A., Sluiman, H., Tong, Q.G., & Liu, G.N. (2012). Infrastructure as a Service Cloud Concepts. Developing and Hosting Applications on the Cloud. IBM Press.
Cohn, C., & Samuels, J. (2012). Megaupload and the Government’s Attack on Cloud Computing. Electronic Frontier Foundation.
Faroughy, A. (1951). The Bahrein Islands (750 — 1951): A Contribution to the Study of Power Politics in the Persian Gulf. NY: Verry, Fisher & Co.
Houtsma, M.T. (1960). “Ba-rayn.” Encyclopedia of Islam. I. Leiden: E.J. Brill.
Hoyland, R.G. (2001). Arabia and the Arabs: From the Bronze Age to the Coming of Islam. NY: Routledge.
Mojtahed-Zadeh?, P. (1999). Security and Territoriality in the Persian Gulf: A Maritime Political Geography. NY: Routledge
Rochwerger, B., Caceres, J., Montero, et al. (2009). The RESERVOIR Model and Architecture for Open Federated Cloud Computing, IBM Journal of Research and Development, 53(4).
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Voorsluys, W., Broberg, J., & Buyya, R. (2011). Introduction to Cloud Computing. In R. Buyya, J. Broberg, A.Goscinski. Cloud Computing: Principles and Paradigms. New York, USA: Wiley Press.
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