Cloud computing is a popular theme in the world of geeks and gadgets. In fact, it has been accelerating in popularity over the past few years. Analysts of marketing trends believe it is the wave of the future. However, the development of this new phase of Internet technology has one constraint: security is still an issue.
What Is Cloud Computing?
Cloud computing is the practice of using remotely located network servers to store data instead of local computer hard-drives. Users can access their data through the Internet. The idea is popular because it resolves storage capacity problems.
Cloud storage makes it easy for businesses with a growing volume of information to handle the problem of big data with grace and ease. What’s more, managing, storing, and processing data has also become inexpensive, fast, and efficient. In addition, businesses who use cloud computing can rent highly sophisticated software without having to pay full price, hire an IT expert to install it, or hire technicians to troubleshoot or upgrade it.
The many advantages of cloud computing are not reserved for businesses alone. Popular applications used by individuals are Dropbox and Google Docs. Users can access this data with the same ease with which they access documents on their computer’s local hard-drive without concern about running out of storage space.
Cloud Computing and Mobile Devices
While memory for hard-drives is no longer much of a problem for computers, because they are now in the terrabytes, mobile devices like smartphones and tablets don’t have as much local memory available. They also use more resource-intensive apps and big audio and video files. However, cloud computing has made the problem of running out of storage space obsolete. Mobile devices can store information on the cloud as easily as computers. Those with portable devices can access their files on the cloud from the Internet and watch videos, listen to music, or swap photographs without any problems.
Concern about Data Storage
With all these advantages, cloud computing does seem to signal that the future has arrived. After all, the cloud offers unlimited storage, ease of access from anywhere, and the flexibility to use any Internet-based device. However, there is one flaw that has yet to be ironed out. Experts worry about cloud computing security.
Storing data on company premises is far safer than storing them on the cloud. This is because the user does not own the network. The cloud is open to the entire world and there is no protection from hackers who want to access private data.
Experts Remain Skeptical
Even enthusiasts of cloud computing have reservations about the cloud’s security. A consortium of the top Internet technology companies called Open Data Center Alliance has members who are big players in the tech world. Membership includes companies like Disney, SAP, Deutsche Telecom, and Infosys. Out of this elite membership, 66 percent think that the cloud has insufficient data security.
Two Other Concerns
While cloud computing security is one of the primary concerns of individuals and companies who use the cloud, there are also two other concerns.
One concern is that data on the cloud may be subject to regulatory issues.
The other concern is that using the cloud leaves the user vulnerable to the cloud storage provider. Amazon Web Services (AWS), a leading provider of cloud storage services in the world, frightened users in October 2012 when the service failed and users were unable to get their hands on their documents. Although the problem was resolved a short while later, it made users wary about becoming dependent on cloud storage providers.
Hope Still Prevails
Despite these three problems—the threat of data security breaches, the threat of increased governmental regulation of information stored in the cloud, and the threat of the provider no longer being available 24/7 due to a technical glitch—the enormous benefits of the cloud are too big to dismiss the entire industry as a passing fad. Cloud computing is still in its infancy and the problems it faces can be overcome.