Tag: cloud risks

cloud risks

The cloud as a concept was always going to have a challenging run. Whilst the ease of access appeals to pretty much any IT professional and business, the lack of a centralised location for data is an odd concept for those interested in the preservation of data. Indeed the cloud has built it’s reputation on the fact that all data is stored on “the internet” – potentially meaning no centralised location but shared across a bank of locations – fluid data storage. So should businesses really feel uneasy when it comes to the cloud or should the positives outweigh these concerns? What exactly are the security risks?

There have been several high-profile failures of cloud computing recently. For example, a data centre owned by the online retailer Amazon, malfunctioned and disrupted several popular sites and services that relied on cloud computing. Several other large corporations have suffered similar disruptions, these include Salesforce customers being unable to access sales details and customers of Microsoft’s azure cloud platform. 

There are several methods of combating cloud service outages. Distributing resources over multiple cloud data centres and making them easy to move from one data centre to another can help to minimise the impact of such disruptions. The fact that so many large, popular websites were affected so severely by recent events suggests that too much trust is being put on these services, without assessing the associated risks. 

The very nature of cloud computing raises some issues for security. By distributing data around a remote network of servers hosted on the Internet the whole system naturally becomes far less secure than in-house data storage. Some other key security concerns include: cloud hosting companies’ access to a client’s data and the legal issues around data being stored in different countries. 

The solution to these problems largely depends on the websites and the services they provide. Small businesses will benefit from cloud storage and hosting because, despite the risks, they wouldn’t be able to maintain their own data centres with appropriate security measures without bankrupting themselves. Whereas institutions that store lots of confidential information must have their own data centres and should have the financial resources to maintain them.

Generally speaking, cloud services actually have better security than many IT companies, but the nature of their business makes them a larger target for hackers. Despite outsourcing IT hosting systems to the cloud it is imperative that all employees handle their company’s data responsibly to mitigate potential security risks. Cloud service providers can also do a lot to help increase the security of their system, such as handing full server management to the customer. This means that they have full control of their data and switches the focus to merely renting maintained hardware from the cloud provider rather than relying on them to manage software. This is a good solution for many companies, especially if they have someone capable of managing the server interface correctly. 

The future of cloud computing generally looks bright. The possibility of small companies renting out online server space is very positive: it enables them to compete with companies who have much greater in-house resources. However, security is clearly an issue and there are a number of steps that need to be taken to ensure that companies have a safe and reliable environment to conduct business in. 

Sources:
  • http://www.elastichosts.com/blog/2011/11/15/keeping-data-safe-in-the-cloud/
  • http://nakedsecurity.sophos.com/2012/03/08/cloud-storage-data-risks-and-encryption/
  • http://www.businessweek.com/articles/2012-08-07/the-cloud-carries-risks-too

About the Author: This article was written on behalf of ElasticHosts – providers of cloud VPS and hosting solutions.

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dislike cloud

Many services today are utilizing cloud-based services in order to provide their customers with more for less money on their part. Additionally cloud systems allow a lot of internal flexibility to always have options to meet the demand of the customers without a complete overhaul. Unfortunately there are still many people caught up in the mindset of previous generations of software and products, which makes it difficult to make the switch. Knowing why people are resistant to this new and inexpensive method of providing high quality products is important to ease more people into adaptation of cloud products.

Privacy As A Big Concern

Privacy is a huge concern for many people since they often see use of their personal information as anything but acceptable. Today there are models that cost little to nothing that provide high quality software, but they often log how the individual uses the software in every way. The previous model uses almost no statistics on what the user does, but instead costs a high initial or ongoing price to make up for it. Since cloud based companies typically sell their user statistics in some way consumers often see it as an invasion off their privacy. However cloud companies do not actually sell the statistics themselves, but use them to create a suite for providing unique opportunities to advertisers. This means the statistics are made anonymous and used as a means of selling advertising space, but the specifics are never directly transferred to anyone else outside the cloud company.

The Integrity of Data

Another concern is the integrity of data in cloud systems because all the information is decentralized significantly. Given that many pieces of information for one account are usually scattered among a number of systems, losing one piece of the information can mean having a permanent gap that destroys the entire project. Luckily cloud systems utilize a technology called RAID that mirrors information from one drive to another so it can be easily replaced in the event of a crash. Many cloud systems are also programmed to keep account information in a smaller area so it is contained within a single facility rather than throughout the world. Even if it is not on the same hard drive, fast Fluxlight Cisco fiber optic transceivers can relay information as if it were only one system that was being used.

Growing Implementation Into People’s Lives

The last issue is the constant growing implementation of a single company into a person’s life. With the development of the FluxLight GLC-T fiber optic transceiver along with high speed 4G networks for cell carriers, very personal information can easily be transferred quickly and stored to a server. Luckily most companies allow location caching or anything else to be disabled, but services that use them will not be available until they are enabled again.

About the Author: Eric Blair writes about cloud computing and fiber optic technology devices from www.fluxlight.com, used to strengthen computer networks.

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free cloud risks

The evolution of technology has brought us many opportunities. Among them, the benefits of next-generation services like cloud computing and offers of free and almost unlimited storage with every email account we decide to sign up with.

This abundance of space has allowed us to keep working long after the office has closed, and keep playing for much longer than we should. But is the cloud and free online offerings really all sunshine and roses?

Technology Isn’t the Only Thing Which Has Evolved

As new technology is produced to replace the outdated, business and individuals are running to catch up. But so too are cyber criminals who lurk around every virtual corner. The goal of some is to steal your identity; the goal of others, to simply be able to say that they did it before someone else. But regardless of the motivation, the effects of cyber crime translate into millions of dollars in lawsuits and systems recovery each year, not to mention real and personal damage.

In addition to the evolution of the cyber criminal element are the industries who are realizing the potential of the online world. These industries understand that getting their message out online no longer means only revenue from those in their own communities, but those around the world as well. And in an effort to reach them all are ads on every web page, e-mail client and in every program that’s downloaded.

It can be difficult to spot the risks of cloud computing and free online services amidst the celebration of all that is good about them. But not understanding the risks of each can mean false security, and a possible tendency to over-expose sensitive information.

The Reality of Risk

The theft of data is a constant threat and serious risk of the cloud computing environment. And it’s largely due to the size of the environment. The bigger a fortress, the more attempts there will be to breach it. But even so, more companies every day are choosing to place their sensitive information in the cloud.

Data loss is another huge risk of using the cloud, as this environment puts companies and the data they upload at the mercy of the cloud provider. What happens should that provider’s servers experience an unprecedented crash that sees all uploaded data, plus any backup of that data, lost forever?

Espionage is a definite possibility, both with free and cloud services. Although the ability to instantly transmit information and data to a recipient via cloud or video offers the ultimate in convenience, one needs to be aware that other data is also being transmitted. Information like IP addresses, call duration, computer equipment used, and participant location can all be gleaned from any cloud or online video session. If not a hacker looking to notch their belt with their latest exploit, then perhaps a spy for a competing company, who waits in the wings, just waiting for the needed missing puzzle piece to be spoken or uploaded. And many online messaging companies and cloud services simply cannot guarantee the anonymity of the information that’s being transmitted.

For companies trying to reach a new market by advertising online and offering free incentives like storage, calling or messaging, buyer beware, as there is still a price to be paid. A simple agreement to sign up for services can also mean an agreement that your browsing habits and personal preferences become fodder for other companies who are themselves trying to reach a wider audience. With personal data passing through so many pairs of virtual hands, there’s no telling where it will end up, or whether that recipient will give that data the respect it deserves.

Many discussions about the usage of personal information by companies can be found online. The best course of action is to find those discussions, and use them to complement existing knowledge of the real risks of cloud storage and free online services.

About the Author: Guest author Sarah Dickson writes on a variety of subjects, particularly related to technology.  She has assembled information on how consumers can locate internet providers in Mesa.

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