Technology

Cloud Computing 101 – Merits & Demerits

This guest column is authored by Manoj Aggarwal, Founder, TetraNoodle Technologies

Eva Perry – Independent cloud strategist, said:

I’m pretty liberal in my view on cloud; really, in a sense, the whole industry is becoming cloud computing. It’s hard to differentiate today the software industry and cloud computing.

Forgot to keep the important document with you, for the meeting? Well, you are lucky if you got cloud. This is how cloud is making our lives easier.

The kind of service that lets you share resources and store them without consuming your own or local hardware or software is known as Cloud Computing.

You pay a certain amount (or just sign up or register for regular memory usage) and get a sound capacity of non-physical or virtual memory that you can use for your personal data. Basically, having Cloud is like consuming the gas supply provided by the government rather than getting your own Gas tank.

Advantages

The major advantage of having cloud computing service is the access to your personal data anytime anywhere

Let us discuss some crucial advantages that Cloud computing provides:

Scalability

Cloud not only just provides storage but it also provides the facility to extend the amount of total storage capacity whenever we need. Not just that, at a global level the availability of the storage increases with the increase in demand. And, hence we are never left with the shortage of memory.

Flexibility

You just pay for what you consume, this is something incomparable when it comes to cloud computing service. Unlike to other computing services, with cloud computing, you don’t have to worry about rest of the expenses including any inefficiency etc, not a headache for the end user at all.

Reliability

It is reliable undoubtedly due to a 24/7 storage availability and no fear of data being lost or crashed.

Security levels

Cloud provides different of levels in order to store the data according to your requirement, the levels include Public Cloud, Private Cloud, and Hybrid Cloud.

Public Cloud – The one with shared content, shared with more than one organizations or users.

Private Cloud – Storage is accessible by only a single user. Resources/data can only be accessed by one organization having greater control and privacy facilities.

Hybrid Cloud – Containing both cloud infrastructures (public and private) with performing a distinct function within the same organization.

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Increased agility

As the name says, it has become speedy as you have one interface keeping all your data and no need of transferring data from one place to other or emailing etc.

Improved Backups/Disaster Recovery features

As compared to personal physical storage the disaster recovery is highly increased. And a loss of data is nothing but a doubt in cloud infrastructure.

Content distribution

Content can easily be distributed with just a click of ‘share’. No uploading is needed.

Reduced Costs

The maintenance, servicing, hardware etc. such expenses are a complete concern of infrastructure providers, and you just enjoy the cloud!

Threats Along With Cloud

According to a survey following nine threats were registered to be cautious about or mentally be prepared about till 2013:

  • Data Breaches
  • Data Loss
  • Account Hijacking
  • Insecure APIs
  • Denial of Service
  • Malicious Insiders
  • Abuse of Cloud Services
  • Insufficient Due Diligence
  • Shared Technology Issues

Whereas in current year the amount of security related threats is seemed to increase, including the following:

  • Weak Identity
  • Credential and Access Management
  • System and Application Vulnerabilities

However with a wise choice of which platform(s) you are using, can reduce most of the threats at some level, after all, it’s a technology and technology is always under development and improvement. Hence we must look forward to the improvements and positive sides of this technology and get most of it, after all, technology is meant to make our lives easier.

Prevent Cloud Computing Threats at Organisational Level

Imagine you get a call at 2:00 a.m. telling your recent data is corrupted and you lose some crucial data. A little seepage and the cloud computing threats can turn into real disasters, the bigger your company the greater loss can be and it results in a downfall of reputation that you built with decades of struggle.

Keep Data Backed Up

Backing up your data time to time is an over-repeated instruction with just the variation of the domain. But unfortunately, its practical implication is often ignored. Backing-up data means making it safe no matter what disaster or unpleasant event strikes, once the data is backed up its originality if safe from malware as well as hackers.

Keys and Passwords

Passwords should have strict criteria and must be of a good length of 15-18 character with a mix of alphabets, symbols, and numbers. The password should be changed every 4 months. A password generator is even a better option in order to overcome the issue of weak passwords.

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Encryption

Encryption is a method by which exchange of information can be made secure. Employees must be educated to know how sensitive the data is and ensure that the encryption key is kept highly confidential.

Educate Employees About the Threats

Educate your employees about the essential details and practices so that they maintain the level of security and keep all the data and information private and all protected. Employees must be educated about the type of password to be used, that will be more secure, and such awareness should be common among employees.

Employees’ Credentials

Employees credentials can be the easiest way to steal or hack your data, so keeping it safe should be a priority above all, every employee should individually be very cautious about his credentials and should take complete responsibility for it.

Keep it Updated

A periodic and time to time update in anti-virus programs is necessary so as to keep systems updated for newly discovered viruses; it helps to prevent the virus threat completely.

Authenticate at Every Step

Authentication of employee and client both at every step is a crucial factor. Authentication of identity can reduce most of the security threats that are possible in a cloud infrastructure.

VPN

Virtual Private Network (VPN) seems to be a truly reliable system of security as per the current security challenges. The company must keep evaluating its security maintaining policies every next year. VPN is a channel between the computer and other devices and ensures the security of the data exchanged.

Cloud Computing threats can be prevented quite reasonably in all ways, what we need is an eagle’s eye or the cloud infrastructure we are running and consider all the potential threats, keep evaluating the practices and maintenance with respect to security periodically. Shifting to Cloud seems like a piece of cake when it comes to the benefits and the scope and opportunities it enables, at the same time tough policies are a must to implement as all the things are now cloud, so threats increase drastically including all the cloud computing threats discussed earlier.

Image Credit – Concept Draw

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