Hovering on Cloud nine

Cutting videos on ancient computers, storing xxx-gigabyte of data on your mobile phone, access software and data from wherever you are – Cloud Computing – hype or the future?

Bye, bye, hardware – My software runs in every browser

The basic idea of Cloud Computing is to run all applications in the web – starting with simple software, progressing to complex operating systems (eg. Chrome OS).

According to the NIST (National Institute of Standards and Technology) five common features

of Cloud Computing are:

  • On-demand self-service: users can set themselves up without the help of anyone else.
  • Ubiquitous network access: available through standard Internet-enabled devices.
  • Location independent resource pooling: processing and storage demands are balanced across a common infrastructure with no particular resource assigned to any individual user.
  • Rapid elasticity: consumers can increase or decrease capacity at will.
  • Pay per use: consumers are charged fees based on their usage of a combination of computing power, bandwidth use and/or storage.

The User doesn’t need to worry about system/software updates, expensive graphic cards or multi-core CPU’s. That’s all still up the air but incipient stages are already been done.

Google leads the way

Office tools, E-Mail accounts, RSS-Reader, a Calendar and many more applications can run platform independent in the webbrowser. Ready to start whenever you want.

A clever business model – for both sides

Huge server farms of companies like Google, Microsoft, Amazon or IBM make Cloud Computing possible.

The customers don’t need to pay for program licenses or severs, but pay for the service they actually consume. The users are able combine different services of various providers like a building kit. Companies only pay for the services they use and combine them according to their personal needs. A Cloud accrues.


All that glitters is not gold

On the one hand, the strategy of outsourcing to the cloud allows companies to focus their core competencies and develop new business opportunities. On the other hand, the dependence on external IT systems rises. A malfunction caused by technical failures, malware or hacker attacks could paralyze communication but also cripple whole business or production processes.

What could happen?

Deletation of data

Data must be erased in many cases (eg. by law). There is always a risk of inadequate or incomplete deletion on all platforms and databases of the cloud, hence locating the data is difficult.

Inadequate separation of clients

There is always a risk that an unauthorized third party can view or manipulate data.

Breach of data protection laws

It is not clear in what countries, data centers, on which servers and with which software, the data will be saved and processed.

Insolvency of the provider

The insolvency of a provider usually doesn’t implicate an insolvency of all data center used by the service provider.  Data centers will get sold to other providers with high probability.

Recently at Sony, …

Sony’s PlayStation Network was hacked in one of the largest internet security break-ins ever.

Nick Caplin, head of communications hat Sony Computer Entertainment Europe issued this statement in a post on the company’s blog:

“There’s a difference in timing between when we identified there was an intrusion and when we learned of consumers’ data being compromised. We learned there was an intrusion 19th April and subsequently shut the services down. We then brought in outside experts to help us learn how the intrusion occurred and to conduct an investigation to determine the nature and scope of the incident.

It was necessary to conduct several days of forensic analysis, and it took our experts until yesterday to understand the scope of the breach. We then shared that information with our consumers and announced it publicly yesterday evening.”

The attackers were able to gain access to approximately 93,000 customer accounts.

Even elephant companies like Sony aren’t completely secured to hack attacks.

But, …

is it safer to put data on hard drives?

Tony Seno Hatoro, National Technology Officer of Microsoft Indonesia, explains:

“Worse knowledge of people about security on the Internet haunts the adoption of Cloud Computing. In addition, people feel more secure storing data on your own computer rather than in the cloud. In reality, the data in the cloud can be much more secure than data stored on the computer itself, “

Despite such risks, small or medium companies would probably increase their security level through the use of Cloud services. Large companies should consider the security features of a cloud service provider individually and decide whether the proposed security mechanisms are sufficient for the specific needs of the company. Because of the low standardized techniques of Cloud Computing Systems security is not guaranteed.




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